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AFL Suns' key forwards carve up Dockers

AAP logoAAP 23/07/2016 By Vince Rugari

Gold Coast's key forwards have combined to wreak havoc against Fremantle, paving the way for 24-point win described by coach Rodney Eade as their best of the AFL season.

Both sides fielded undermanned teams due to injury, but Suns trio Sam Day, Peter Wright and Tom Lynch stood tall above the rest in the 16.9 (105) to 12.9 (81) victory on Saturday at Metricon Stadium, improving their record to 6-11.

Day booted four goals in arguably his strongest game in several years while Wright's terrific debut season continued with a haul of three majors.

Vice-captain Lynch, meanwhile, was well held by Dockers fullback Zac Dawson for most of the match but still managed to kick four goals - two of them coming in the final term when the game was in the balance.

Between them, Day, Wright and Lynch contributed 11 of Gold Coast's 16 goals - and with Lynch the oldest of the trio at just 23, the Suns appear well covered in the big-man department for a long time to come.

But Eade confessed he was very worried about how the Suns would fare given their dire shortage of on-ballers.

The Suns were already missing their six best midfielders - Gary Ablett (shoulder), Jaeger O'Meara, David Swallow, Dion Prestia, Michael Rischitelli (knee) and Aaron Hall (hamstring) - and, in a cruel pre-match blow, lost mooted inclusion Matt Rosa to a hamstring issue.

However, their makeshift engine room - led by Touk Miller and Alex Sexton - still managed to take the edge in clearances (34-32) and contested possessions (138-124).

"We thought we could get an advantage (with our talls) but we were really worried about the midfield, to be honest," Eade said.

"But I thought our midfield really stood up - there were some great efforts.

"Really, for the lack of run that we had, to do what we were able to do was fantastic."

Fremantle, who rested veteran Matthew Pavlich to allow him to celebrate his 250th AFL match at home next weekend, were right in the contest until a string of five unanswered goals across the third and fourth quarters put it beyond reach.

Midfielder Lachie Neale was their best with a game-high 43 possessions - more than half of those coming before halftime - and 10 clearances.

But despite his impressive statistics, he didn't exactly impress Fremantle coach Ross Lyon.

"I think you can get caught up in the numbers a bit," he said.

"(He) probably could have pressured around the ball and tackled a bit more. He told me that.

"Really simply, we're leaving it too much to too few and we need a few to buy in."

A crowd of 8933 braved the hottest July day recorded on the Gold Coast, with temperatures reaching an unseasonable 28 degrees before the first bounce.

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