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In-form Suns give Hawks Darwin thrashing

Gold Coast are just one game outside the AFL’s top eight after dismantling Hawthorn with a 67-point win in Darwin.

Three first-half goals for Mabior Chol, an outrageous finish from hometown hero Joel Jeffrey and a starring 24-disposal, two-goal, best-on-ground display from Brandon Ellis helped the Suns cruise away for their fifth win of the campaign.

They kicked nine of the first 11 goals and were effectively home before the Hawks woke up at TIO Stadium on Saturday.

It turned into a genuine party for the Suns, with another local, Malcolm Rosas, also enjoying his time back on home turf with three goals.

It was a third win in four games for the Suns, and with North Melbourne, Adelaide and Port Adelaide on deck in the next three weeks, they are emerging as a genuine finals contender.

Suns’ skipper Touk Miller said they had identified games in Darwin against the Hawks and then the Kangaroos next weekend as a perfect opportunity for two wins to square their season ledger.

“We knew this Darwin trip was a great opportunity for us to go and get a couple of wins, and we had to start with Hawthorn,” he said

“We really had our eyes on the prize and I feel we really delivered tonight.

“Boys like Joel Jeffrey, Mally Rosas, Izak Rankine, those guys are really special players and they’re starting to really deliver which is really exciting for us.

“We play the fundamentals really well in these conditions … it was an awesome win from the boys.”

They were 40 points to the good in the second term thanks to two Chol strikes, but Jeffrey’s magical long bomb really brought the house down.

Ben Ainsworth snapped home a second goal late in the third for a 55-point lead, from a free kick after Jarman Impey appeared to knee him in the back off the ball. He was immediately reported.

Ellis was best for the Suns but he got plenty of support, with Miller (24 touches) and Lachie Weller (27) prominent.

It was a poor night for the Hawks after their upset of Brisbane last weekend and they have now lost five of their past six games.

Tom Mitchell was in magnetic form with 29 touches, while James Sicily was great at the back with nine rebound 50s and 643m gained.

Coach Sam Mitchell admitted it was a disappointing night.

“We didn’t handle the conditions well, lost contested possession significantly … we lost the tackle count as well,” he told reporters.

“That wasn’t to the standard we expect, you can’t lose games by 30 contested possessions.”

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