Collingwood have jumped into second spot on the AFL ladder, extending their winning run to six with a 39-point victory over Gold Coast.
But a scrappy final quarter meant the Magpies squandered a golden opportunity to boost their percentage, prevailing 14.15 (99) to 8.12 (60) at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night, when they should have won by much more.
The contest was over before halftime, with the visitors piling on eight unanswered goals across the first two quarters to snap the Suns' early resistance.
Among them was a goal-of-the-year contender from Josh Thomas, who beat Jarrod Harbrow to a loose ball, somehow kept it in as he slid towards the boundary, then snapped from a difficult angle with little room to manoeuvre as two Suns players closed in.
The Magpies coasted on and led by as much as 59 points in the third term but failed to put their lowly opponents to the sword.
Gold Coast took advantage with four straight goals and actually won the last quarter by a point, but a better side would have made more of the scoring opportunities they generated late and made a genuine game of it.
"We dropped right off," Pies coach Nathan Buckley said. "It looked like physically we weren't able to maintain it.
"We played some of our best footy and then some of our worst."
In the end, neither team will be overly happy with how they performed.
Thomas finished a game-high four goals and rookie Jaidyn Stephenson kicked three but ruckman Brodie Grundy was the outstanding player on the field.
He helped himself to 49 hitouts, 23 disposals, nine tackles and six clearances in a dominant display.
Jarryd Lyons (32 touches, 12 clearances), Touk Miller (33 touches, seven clearances) and Jarrod Harbrow (29 touches, 12 marks) led the way for Gold Coast.
As usual with Collingwood matches on the tourist strip, the vast majority of the 13,637-strong crowd was clad in black and white - and for the most part, they liked what they saw.
For the Suns, it was sadly more of the same.
They made a bright, high-pressured start and went goal-for-goal with Collingwood in the first 20 minutes to suggest an upset might have been brewing.
But the Suns went missing for the middle part of the match, slumping to their ninth consecutive defeat - now the third-worst losing streak in the expansion club's short history.
Coach Stuart Dew, however, was encouraged by their late comeback.
"That last 40 minutes ... the heart that they showed and the passion for each other was really there," he said.
"Hopefully it's a turning point for the footy club."