Brandon Ellis made his return to the MCG for the first time since he lifted the Premiership Cup in 2019.
The Suns wingman enjoyed a best on ground performance as his side cruised to a 24-point win over the hapless Magpies on Saturday afternoon.
In its only match at the MCG for 2021, Gold Coast leaned on the experienced ex-Tiger as it claimed its first win at the MCG since 2017. It will be the only game at the hallowed turf the Suns play for the season.
The 27-year-old had 18 disposals and a goal to halftime, and picked up where he left off in the second half, finishing with 35 disposals, including 31 uncontested to go along with 16 uncontested marks.
His 35 touches went at a staggering 97 percent disposal efficiency in a best on ground performance.
His work rate in his preferred wing role was elite, consistently providing an outlet for a stubborn Gold Coast defensive unit to use on its way out.
Helping to retain possession on the Suns’ way out of defence was key, as his side recorded 38 more uncontested possessions and 43 additional uncontested marks against the Pies.
Head coach Stuart Dew was quick to praise the work of Ellis in his first game at the MCG since the 2019 Grand Final.
“Brandon was looking forward to it,” Dew told The Inner Sanctum.
“I remember him texting me, actually, from underneath the grand stand after the  Grand Final, talking about looking forward to playing for us on the MCG. So he’s had it pencilled in.
It was a rare occasion to play at the MCG for the Suns, who enjoyed their first win at the venue since 2017.
“We just made the comment that we’ve just got to make sure that we keep it as normal as possible.
“It’s a great opportunity but in the end it’s a patch of grass, goals at each end.
“It’s as simple as it sounds but at different times, I know I was guilty of it, you come to the MCG, you get excited.
“[You take] 30, 40 shots before the game, which it not what you normally do but you want to soak up the feeling of it.
“So we put that on the table before the game and said ‘let’s prepare well, save it for the two hours and you can have your fun in that time, and just make sure you prepare’.”
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Brandon Ellis is having his best season to date in his second year with the Suns, averaging 26 disposals and 380 metres gained per match in the young 2021 season.
He was the standout on the day, but his two years at the Suns have been a success for more than just his on-field performance.
Recruited on a sizeable contract, Ellis has been a contributing factor to the culture being built on the Gold Coast as his progresses to now being a finals contender in 2021.
“He is high energy, and he’s gone from a really good system and he understands, he appreciates AFL footy,” Dew stated.
“He’s a giver to people on and off the field and within his own family and network.
“So that kind of character trait for us, he’s a hard worker and drives the group, and he energises us as coaches as well, and challenges us really well.
“We love having him at the Gold Coast Suns.
“He’s enjoying his time. He’s an advocate for us, for sure, and likewise [us to him],” Dew concluded.
It will be an MCG return to remember for Brandon Ellis, and his side has improved to 3-4 on the season.
They now have the opportunity to even the ledger when they take on St Kilda at Metricon Stadium in round eight.
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