A thumping 59-point AFL win for Gold Coast over a pedestrian North Melbourne has been soured by knee injuries to Sam Day and Connor Budarick.
Tall forward Day was subbed out of the 14.14 (98) to 5.9 (39) win at Metricon Stadium at halftime, before Budarick came out of the game in the fourth quarter.
While Suns coach Stuart Dew said the initial prognosis on Day is hopefully not as bad as first feared, it looks like young defender Budarick’s season could be over with a suspected ACL injury.
“Overall we’re really pleased (with the win),” coach Stuart Dew said.
“Tastes a bit sour with a couple of injuries, which is disappointing.
“Connor, it probably looks, the worst of the two and that’s a real concern.
“Connor’s come into the footy club and played from day one and we feel for him because he’s obviously disappointed and we think that might be obviously on the more severe side.
“Sam will be a little bit more wait and see.”
After pushing West Coast for three quarters in Perth last weekend, the Suns were simply too good throughout against a disappointing Kangaroos.
In the absence of his good mate Matt Rowell, second-year player Noah Anderson was outstanding in the midfield for the hosts, picking up 35 disposals and seven clearances.
He was not the only standout, however, with Touk Miller (31 disposals) and Jack Lukosius (22 disposals, one goal) also hugely influential through the middle of the park.
Izak Rankine and key forward Ben King each kicked three goals for the Suns.
Alex Sexton (two) was the game’s other multiple goalkicker.
North were as bad as the scoreboard suggests, and if new coach David Noble had any uncertainty over the magnitude of the task at Arden St, he won’t now.
Chairman Ben Buckley’s bold assertion that he wants the club to be “competing regularly” in the top four within two to three years looks a long way off on this showing.
“We’re annoyed. We’re disappointed in the way that we’ve presented tonight but we’re not just here to take 12 months to develop,” Noble said.
“I daresay by the time we get back to the hotel it’ll be made pretty clear that what was delivered tonight is not on.
“But I do think there is an element of certain characteristics that teams need to learn to build and grow, and with that comes bumpy roads.”
Kangaroos midfielder Jack Mahony limped off late in the game with an ankle injury, while captain Jack Ziebell played out the game but also spent time off with an ankle knock picked up in the third term.
The Suns head to Adelaide next Friday to face the Crows while, on the same day, North return to Melbourne and host the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium.