Metricon Stadium opens its doors
Fireworks that could be heard kilometres away, 21,485 screaming Gold Coast Suns fans and Karmichael Hunt's first AFL goal - from 60m out, no less - it was a cracking night out at Metricon Stadium.
The Suns were well-beaten in the end but regardless of the result the new stadium made an impressive debut.
Thousands of fans clad in the Suns' red and yellow flowed into the stadium well before kick-off to drink in the atmosphere, created after a $144 million redevelopment of the ground.
They heeded the message of public transport use, arriving in droves on buses from train stations and satellite parking stations and flooding merchandising stands, bars and food outlets.
And while the majority of the fans were there to cheer on the Suns and captain Gary Ablett in his first meeting against Geelong -- the club he left to become the inaugural Gold Coast captain -- there were plenty in the navy and blue of the Cats.
"We all still love him and I'll clap him,'' said Cats fan Pam Grills, who travelled from Geelong with girlfriends Belinda Robertson and Jodie MacIntire for the game.
"I think Geelong fans will always have a soft spot for the Suns because they have our No.1 player.
"Regardless of anything, we love him. But we love our team a bit more.''
But it was all about the Suns and the return of AFL to the Gold Coast as the stadium was officially opened in front of a sea of red flags and fireworks.
Ablett led the team through the banner and, unlike their AFL debut against Carlton where things rapidly went pear-shaped for the newcomers, there was plenty for Suns fans to cheer.
Tom Lynch earned his place in club history as the first goal-kicker at Metricon Stadium, but it was Hunt's monster right-footer late in the second term that brought the crowd to its feet.