The expansion clubs didn’t have many friends when finals predictions were meted out before the first bounce. Richmond and West Coast have largely followed the script, but St Kilda have made sides work for their wins, won a match, and fell short by the most painful of margins against league behemoths Fremantle.

Gold Coast have done even better—besting the Tigers in only their second game after coming off a single point loss to GWS, drawing in the first Q-Clash, and then matching North Melbourne for significant portions of the game, only to fall by 13 points to the premiership fancies.

Coach Lake made no bones about the mindset of the fledgling side.

“We’re not here to make up numbers, trust me. We’ll keep making statements every week—we’ll keep coming.”

On their opponents and how his charges went about upsetting the Kangaroos’ wagon, he was circumspect.

“They are a good side and the moments that you give them space to play in, they play in it.

“We could almost create our chances, but we just couldn’t stretch enough or get numbers back, but certainly the willingness was there.”

Kaslar, a veteran of Queensland footy who switched from the Lions this year, had plenty of praise for the up-and-coming Coasters, too.

“Every one of our players has something to prove and different weapons and they’re gripping the opportunity they’ve been given by this club with both hands.”

Lake has the Suns living in a growth environment and if their progress is anything to go by, don’t count them out of April action just yet.

“Having gone through it the week before, the opportunity to put Brisbane away and not quite getting there—it was like we were in the same place, but the intensity was even greater again. The dam wall breaks eventually—it might not happen this week, it might break next week...”