Captain courageous rises for Suns
IT was a captain's goal, a fan's highlight and a game decider.
As David Swallow stood 35m out from goal with four minutes left he felt the weight of a moment that would define the start of Gold Coast's season.
The Suns trailed the Dockers by three points late in the final term of Sunday evening's clash and despite mounting unrelenting pressure, were on the cusp of letting another game slip and go 0-2 to start the season.
They now stand on an even keel thanks to Swallow's heroics with the Suns co-captain delivering the knockout blow to a fight that went all 12 rounds, slotting the goal to secure a vital win for Gold Coast in their first home game of the season at Metricon Stadium.
"I realised the state of the game and it was an important kick," Swallow said.
"You try and block everything out and I kept to my routine. I actually thought it was about to miss and luckily it swung the other way."
Swallow worked harder than anyone else to put himself in the position to win it for Gold Coast.
The 26-year-old battled through a knee injury in the Suns round one loss to St Kilda and raced the clock to be fit to play against Fremantle.
He went on to record 30 disposals, 16 contested, nine clearances and the match-sealing goal.
Coach Stuart Dew wasn't prepared to play him if there was a risk of further injury but also knew of the importance of having the man who influences the group more than any other available.
"Dave is a massive competitor," Dew said.
"Even for the new people to the organisation, you don't quite appreciate it until you see it day-to-day and how professional he was to be able to get the swelling out of his knee by looking after it right, recovering well and then preparing well.
"We set the bar really high for him but in the end it was a matter of how quickly he could get it right and the all clear on the scans was important. He is a ripper."
While Swallow delivered in the crunch moment, fellow club veteran Jarrod Harbrow was arguably best on ground with his 32 disposals, nine marks and seven inside 50s proving vital.
Alex Sexton also impressed with his four goals ensuring he is leading the Coleman Medal race.
Sexton should really have done better than four majors against the Dockers, since he hit the post twice and had three other behinds, but it still sees him alone on eight goals ahead of the rest of the AFL.