Hub life has got off to a disastrous start for West Coast, belted by Gold Coast in Saturday’s AFL clash at Metricon Stadium.
The Suns, huge underdogs coming into the round-two match, snapped a 19-game losing streak in stunning fashion with an upset 14.6 (90) to 6.10 (46) win over the Eagles.
The 44-point defeat marks a bad start to West Coast’s stint in the AFL’s Queensland quarantine hub, having arrived for a minimum four-week stay on the Gold Coast earlier in the week.
The Suns were sensational throughout, outrunning their more experienced opponents and forcing multiple errors through some intense defensive pressure.
Draftee Matt Rowell was best on ground in just his second AFL appearance, kicking two goals and picking up 26 disposals as he upstaged West Coast’s vaunted midfield.
The 18-year-old was one of several young Suns to fire with fellow second-gamer Noah Anderson also scoring the first goal of his AFL career.
Lachie Weller was everywhere for the home team, picking up 24 disposals, while co-captain Jarrod Witts handled the challenge against Eagles’ superstar Nic Naitanui well in the ruck.
Even more impressive for Suns’ coach Stuart Dew, the win came without David Swallow (suspended) or star recruit Brandon Ellis (calf).
Oscar Allen was the only multiple goalkicker for the Eagles with two majors, while Andrew Gaff’s 29 disposals was the highest individual tally of the match.
Gold Coast belied their underdog status early, kicking the opening goals of the match to build an early advantage.
The Eagles responded and recorded 16 inside-50s to Gold Coast’s six in the first term but trailed by two points at the first change having kicked 1.4.
Anderson’s first AFL goal and another major to Sam Day meant the Suns extended their margin to 15 points early in the second term but a run of four unanswered goals by the Eagles put the visitors in front for the first time.
Rather than wilting, the Suns lifted however with Hugh Greenwood and Rowell scoring to ensure the hosts went in at halftime holding a three-point lead.
And the hosts carried on in the third quarter, kicking five goals to the Eagles’ one to take a commanding 26-point lead into the final term.
West Coast had no response as the Suns scored a further three unanswered goals in the final quarter to run out comfortable winners.
In the only blemish for the home team on the night, Suns forward Alex Sexton was placed on report for a high shot on Eagles defender Jeremy McGovern in the third quarter.
The Eagles need to recover quickly, with the second match of their Queensland stay being against Brisbane next Saturday.
Gold Coast will look to build on their win when they host Adelaide next Sunday.