Suns’ rise ominous for Lions

GOLD Coast has an embarrassment of riches.

Sadly for Brisbane, it probably won't even have one.

After winning QClash 7 in the most comprehensive fashion at Metricon Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the fast-rising Suns sit in the top eight - and may still be there when September rolls around.

At the very least, they will finish on top of their Queensland counterparts for the first time since entering the competition in 2011, the Lions sinking to new depths at the weekend - alarmingly to 16th … with a bullet.

While Brisbane's attack is threadbare without proven goalkickers Brent Staker, Ash McGrath and ex-Tiger Luke McGuane, they will probably have to cope without the skilful Daniel Rich through the midfield for the rest of the season after he appeared to do his ACL. And surely fullback Daniel Merrett will miss a week or two with suspension.

Rich, 23, will have scans today, but looks set for a knee reconstruction and a 12-month stint on the sidelines.

Big "Sauce" Merrett topped off a horror afternoon for the Lions with his blatant forearm to the head of David Swallow.

A genuinely good bloke, he will be disappointed with himself, especially with his defence set to come up against one of the most potent attacks in the league, Port Adelaide, in Adelaide, and his side facing a 0-4 start.

Neither side had their 'best 22' out on the park, but such is the pool of talent they have stockpiled, the Suns were able to cover their notable 'outs' with ease.

With Charlie Dixon sidelined, Sam Day and Tom Lynch looked as imposing a pair as Gold Coast has had in attack, combining for six goals.

What the Lions wouldn't give for one of those two up forward.

The man that has been groomed to be the Suns fullback, Rory Thompson, returned for his first game after hip surgery and while he looked underdone, it mattered not, with big Steven May playing as a permanent key defender and outbustling Jonathan Brown (four touches, no goals).

As the tale of two Queensland cities left them heading in different directions, the tale of the tape said Brisbane's players were bigger, older and had more experience than those of the Gold Coast. But, in the end, they were on different planes with their skill.

And there was none better in that area than Gary Ablett (pictured). Amazingly, he had only picked up three Brownlow votes in five QClashes, with Lions tagger Andrew Raines doing some solid jobs on the little champ. But, with Raines nowhere to be seen, Ablett ran riot and will have doubled that vote haul.

Showing as much intent without the ball as he did with it, he gathered a game-high 10 tackles to go with his 38 disposals and three goals. Gold Coast hosts Hawthorn this Saturday night.

The last time the Hawks visited they left a host of big names back in Melbourne.

This time they will want the best of their available talent making the trip north.


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