Gary Ablett stars for the his side in the first round of the AFL season.
A brave Gold Coast has held on to defeat Richmond by 18 points at Metricon Stadium after playing the second half with just two players on the bench.
Debutant Jack Martin was subbed out midway through the first quarter with a shoulder injury, while hulking forward Charlie Dixon failed a concussion test and did not return after the main break.
But the Suns withstood every Richmond challenge and won 12.15 (87) to 10.9 (69).
It was the Suns’ third victory from four games against the Tigers, with the two previous wins coming at Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns. Saturday night’s clash was the first time Gold Coast had hosted Richmond at Metricon Stadium.
After leading for most of the night, the hosts relinquished the lead early in the last term after a clever left-foot snap by Dustin Martin.
But the Suns would not be denied.
Young forwards Tom Lynch and Sam Day wrested back the advantage with strong marks and goals, before David Swallow, Lynch again and captain Gary Ablett iced the win in front of a big crowd of 19,425.
The Suns’ victory completed a memorable day for the AFL’s expansion teams after GWS had earlier defeated the Sydney Swans by 32 points.
Gold Coast’s midfield was tireless in the humid conditions, led by Ablett’s 41 disposals, six clearances and two goals.
He had plenty of mates, with Dion Prestia (32 disposals), Michael Rischitelli (28) and David Swallow (26) all starring.
Debutant Clay Cameron led a superb backline performance that stifled the Tigers’ much bigger forwards.
Richmond had its chances and had just as much of the play, but was unable to break free of the Suns’ shackles.
Trent Cotchin was sublime in defeat, leading from the front with 37 disposals, while Brett Deledio had 33.
But it was all about the Suns, who won after Martin saw barely five minutes of action before his much-hyped debut was cut short.
He dived full length in attempting a mark, fell awkwardly and stayed on the ground clutching his shoulder.
The 19-year-old was helped from the field after just three handballs and taken straight to the dressing-room where he iced the shoulder and received the bad news.
It momentarily slowed the Suns, who started in blistering fashion.
They kicked four goals in an exhilarating six-minute burst in the first term, punctuated by speed, skill and precision.
Last year’s NAB Rising Star winner Jaeger O’Meara showed no signs of slowing down in his second season, rounding helpless big man Ben Griffiths at top pace before steadying from the left pocket to split the sticks for an exquisite goal.
Richmond was able to halt the momentum with a goal to Jack Riewoldt on the quarter-time siren and then capitalised on Gold Coast turnovers in the second quarter to draw within seven points at the main break.