GOLD COAST SUNS 0.2.3 0.4.6 (30) HAWTHORN 0.2.4 0.4.5 (29)
GOALS: Gold Coast: Bennell 2, Harbrow, Smith. Hawthorn: Breust, Schoenmakers, Grimley, Wanganeen.
BEST: Gold Coast Suns: Ablett, Russell, Bennell. Hawthorn: Suckling, Rioli, Grimley.
UMPIRES: Pannell, McInerney, Hall.
NOT much needs to be said about Gary Ablett except that he looks primed for another season of absolutely elite football. Still quick, is ultra-fit and looked a cut above every other player on the field every time he went near the ball, which was plenty - seven possessions in the first half, six in the second, each of them to his team's advantage.
Hunt is all but unrecognisable from last year, let alone the heavy-set league convert who struggled to run out half a game in 2010. He has shed another nine kilograms and was involved in proceedings throughout, though he does better quickly giving the ball off by hand than when forced to find an option by foot. Still improving.
May had a breakout game as a key forward against Hawthorn late last year after previously struggling in defence. He started forward again last night and took two early marks, spotting Campbell Brown with a beautiful lead-up kick to set up the Suns' first shot on goal. Brown missed the easy shot, but May is built like Adonis and may prove a handful for defenders this year.
Lake stops leaks
BRIAN Lake immediately started plugging the hole at full-back for the Hawks, only touching the leather four times, but keeping his opponent Sam Day to just three. His presence left once undersized stopper Ryan Schoenmakers in attack for the first quarter, where he took advantage with a rare goal.
The 192-centimetre defender did well as a rebounding half-back for Hawthorn, collecting eight possessions and looking composed. Could well see his first senior action this year after playing with Box Hill for much of last season.
THE BIG GUNS
Cyril Rioli was arguably the Hawks' busiest midfielder, collecting eight possessions, but like many of his teammates struggled to have his usual impact. Similarly, Lance Franklin was well held, failing to score or otherwise impact the contest.
SUNS RISE OVER THE HAWKS
The Suns held their own, and deservedly took the chocolates when Luke Russell managed a point from beyond 50 and outside the boundary line to break scores that were deadlocked on the final siren. Gary Ablett was at his imperious best and Harley Bennell was always dangerous around goal. The Hawks won’t be hitting the panic button yet but had a late injury scare with Paul Puopolo leaving the field after landing awkwardly. Lance Franklin had little influence, well contained by Rory Thompson.