A career-best five-goal haul by Gold Coast’s Mabior Chol in his 50th AFL match has secured the Suns a vital three point win over West Coast.
The home side held off the fast-finishing Eagles to keep their slim finals hopes alive, Mal Rosas Jnr’s sealer with 15 seconds to play securing the 16.11 (107) to 16.8 (104) win at Metricon Stadium.
The Eagles kicked seven goals to three in the final term to nearly pinch the win, having trailed by 31 points early in the fourth quarter.
Chol scored five goals while livewire small forward Izak Rankine had three majors, with Rosas and Jeremy Sharp kicking two each for the Suns.
Jack Darling kicked an equal career-best six goals for the Eagles, with Jack Petruccelle ending with three and Liam Ryan and Jack Redden two apiece.
Suns co-captain Touk Miller was again the best performer for the hosts with 31 disposals, 16 clearances and 10 tackles.
West Coast rookie Jai Culley had a day to forget, elbowing Suns midfielder Noah Anderson in the head in the second quarter and then limping off in the fourth with a hamstring injury.
The Eagles started brightly with Darling and Jack Redden kicking the visitors to an early lead before the Suns fired back with five unanswered goals to be 16 points clear at the first break.
West Coach coach Adam Simpson would’ve rolled his team bombing a couple of good chances to score, with Ryan and Connor West guilty.
Gold Coast extended their lead to 37 points when Sharp kicked the Suns’ 10th in the second term, before Ryan’s running goal cut the margin to 30 at the main break.
Culley added to the Eagles’ woes with the elbow on Anderson which will almost certainly catch the eye of the Match Review Officer.
Two goals to Darling and another by Petruccelle reduced the margin to 13 points as the Eagles came out of the sheds firing for the third term.
Anderson’s clever pick-up and carry before finishing settled the hosts, with Sharp capping some good work by Rankine to keep the Eagles at arm’s length heading into the final quarter.
Rankine was denied a fourth by ARC after a sensational snap from the boundary was ruled to have shaved the post.
That ruling didn’t cost the Suns, however, with Chol slotting his third after the siren after a hanger of a mark to make the margin 25 points at the end of the third quarter.
Chol and Darling traded goals at the start of the final quarter before an athletic mark on the behind line by Ryan allowed the livewire Eagles forward to kick his second and keep the visitors in the hunt.
Darling’s sixth of the day cut the margin to 13 points before Petruccelle kicked his third on the run to put the contest on a knife’s edge.
When Redden soccered through at the back of a pack from close range, Gold Coast’s lead had been whittled to just two points with little more than eight minutes to play.
Chol’s fifth gave the Suns breathing space after Jake Waterman kicked a shot straight into the player on the mark, in costly miss for the Eagles.
Waterman cut the margin to less than a goal with under a minute left but Rosas’ finish ensured Eagle Jamaine Jones’ effort on the siren was mere consolation.