Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade has lamented their 72-point AFL capitulation in Shanghai as one of the most disappointing moments of his career.
Port Adelaide could not have made a better China debut and coach Ken Hinkley praised their ruthlessness in the 16.14 (110) to 4.14 (38) domination.
The Suns had said repeatedly pre-match that they were determined to overcome the inconsistency that has plagued their form.
But a week after a great win over Geelong, they were woeful on Sunday in the historic match at Jiangwan Stadium.
Eade said the loss left him feeling “pretty flat”.
“That’s as disappointed as I’ve been – I didn’t see that coming,” he said.
“The preparation was good, the attitude seemed good.
“We were just smashed in tight, (in) contested ball.
“We just didn’t seem to have enough get up and go to fight early.”
As the Suns mull over whether they want to play in the Shanghai match again, Eade has no doubts.
“We’d certainly like another chance, to redeem ourselves … because that’s not us,” he said.
There was drama 10 minutes before the first bounce when Suns defender Rory Thompson pulled out of the side, with Keegan Brooksby taking his place.
However, Eade said that was no explanation for why they played so badly.
The Suns’ nightmare was a dream result for Port, who have driven the push in to China.
Hinkley said it was crucial that the team played well, to back the club’s efforts.
“I’m really proud – obviously from a club point of view, there’s been a lot go in to this,” he said.
“So to come here and then back that up for them, with all the work they’ve done, it was really important we put on a strong team performance.”
It left Port well-placed at 5-3 going in to their bye, while the Suns are 3-5.
Hinkley also noted that by ruthlessly restricting Gold Coast and keeping them to just four goals, it was an important boost for Port’s percentage.
Midfielder Brad Ebert was best afield, despite only flying to Shanghai two days ago after the birth of his son Leo.
“It’s been a big week or two,” Ebert said.
After plenty of pre-match speculation about his fitness, Port star Robbie Gray kicked two goals despite not looking 100 per cent.
“Rob’s fine, I’m probably sick of talking about him … he hobbles around at the best of times,” Hinkley said.
And Hinkley stressed Sunday is no one-off China match for Port.
“We can’t wait to defend the title – we’re undefeated here in Shanghai,” he said.
“It is not just … excuse the expression, a Mickey Mouse game, once-off – this is what we want to do as a football club.”