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How hot are the Suns?


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Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna refuses to buy into the growing hype around his young side, saying their sole focus this season remains a finals debut.

The Suns’ breakout year continued to gain momentum when they smashed rebuilding St Kilda in the first half at Etihad Stadium on the way to a regulation 38-point win.

The 19.11 (125) to 13.9 (87) result meant the Suns improved from sixth to fifth with a 6-2 record.

Only 14,625 fans attended the Sunday twilight fixture.

Gold Coast are behind fourth-placed Geelong on percentage and this has all the hallmarks of a breakout year.

In their fourth season, Gold Coast are on a four-game winning streak – their previous best was two-straight.

After winning at Etihad Stadium for the first time a fortnight ago, their hard-running game looks right at home under the roof.

They have also won all three of their games in Melbourne so far this season.

Gold Coast equalled their highest score in any quarter with 8.4 in the opening term against the Saints.

Their 13.7 was a club-record first half and the best start by any team this season.

But McKenna is not reading much into their lofty ladder position

“I reckon it takes you 16 (wins) to get into the top four, so we are a long way off that,” he said.

“The last month has been favourable for us, but we have just completed one lap and we have two laps to come.

“We have a tough draw coming up and we are going to have to weather the storm.”

McKenna said the goal remained 12 wins, which should mean they make the finals.

“We are not shying away from that,” he said.

“If the boys think the work is done, we have got a long way to go.”

Captain Gary Ablett surely took another three-vote step towards his third Brownlow Medal with 37 possessions and four goals.

Ruckman Zac Smith also impressed in his first game back after 12 months out with a knee reconstruction.

Saints coach Alan Richardson said Gold Coast were improving everywhere – game plan, defensive work, bigger bodies and harder running.

“So they’re certainly significantly advanced compared to the team I saw out there last year,” he said.

Unlike a fortnight ago, when they suffered a record 145-point loss to Hawthorn, the Saints were also resilient in the second half.

After trailing by 57 points at the long break, they dramatically improved their intensity and workrate.

“There’s no doubt the guys’ response after half time was a positive,” Richardson said.

“Having said that, it’s disappointing when the game’s up for grabs that we get beaten so badly, particularly in the contest.”

The injury-plagued Saints will welcome the bye.

They suffered more casualties, with substitute Blake Acres (ankle) only lasting a couple of minutes and Luke Delaney hurting his hip.

Jack Steven and Lenny Hayes were best for the Saints.

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