Gold Coast’s breakout AFL season has continued to gain momentum with a regulation 38-point win over St Kilda.
But it could have been much worse for the rebuilding Saints, who rallied impressively in the second half for a 19.11 (125) to 13.9 (87) scoreline.
The Suns are surely finals bound – they are fifth with six wins from eight games.
This was their fourth-straight win – their previous best was two in a row.
Captain Gary Ablett was best afield with a game-high 37 possessions and four goals.
Only 14,625 fans attended the Sunday twilight fixture.
After winning at Etihad Stadium for the first time in round seven, Gold Coast are looking completely at home under the roof.
The sterile conditions perfectly suit their hard-running game style.
The Suns blew the Saints away in the opening term, kicking their first goal in the second minute and taking control.
They kicked 8.4 – their highest first-quarter score and also equalling their best score for any quarter.
The carnage continued in the second term, with the Suns posting their best first-half score of 13.7.
That is also the league’s highest first-half score this season.
Ablett was supreme with his four goals – surely three more votes for the two-time Brownlow Medallist – and it was looking terrible for the Saints.
They were down by a game-high 57 points, two games after Hawthorn had a record 145-point at their expense.
But the Saints were much better in the third term, noticeably increasing their intensity and dominating contested possessions.
They kicked six goals to three, reducing the margin to 38 at the last change.
Maverick Weller went onto Ablett and reduced his influence somewhat, although the Suns skipper was still outstanding.
Saints captain Nick Riewoldt had an extra man on him for the entire game, but he kicked a wonderful goal late in the third term.
Riewoldt was under pressure from opponent Steven May and overshot the ball.
He then regained possession and managed to dribble the ball through from an acute angle.
That reduced the margin to 31 points late in the third quarter, but seconds later Gold Coast killed the challenge with a goal.
The Saints also reduced the margin to 32 points at the start of the last quarter before the Suns again kicked steadying goals.
Jack Steven, Jimmy Webster and Lenny Hayes were best for the Saints.
Gold Coast’s Sean Lemmens hurt his lower leg and Saints substitute Blake Acres limped off in the last quarter only a couple of minutes after he was brought into the game.
Suns ruckman Zac Smith made a successful return after 12 months on the sidelines with a knee reconstruction.