Luke Beveridge was like everyone else at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night, glowing after Jamarra Ugle-Hagan's "terrific" breakout game.
Ugle-Hagan booted three goals and was the forward line spark for a Bulldogs team that battled to put away the pesky Suns in an 11-point victory.
After being chosen with the No.1 pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft, the 19-year-old had to wait until last weekend to make his debut, and this week to kick his first goal.
Beveridge was delighted for 'Marra'.
"In the end his game was quite instrumental in us having a margin at the end," Beveridge said.
"When you can imagine what he's been through over however many months from the start of last year through until now, all the publicity that's been on his doorstep … we thought Marra was instrumental in not just hitting the scoreboard, but providing that option and bringing it to ground on occasions."
Beveridge was pleased with grinding out a win that kept his team firmly in the top two – but also praised Gold Coast's tall defenders.
Aaron Naughton and Josh Bruce had quieter nights, kicking one goal each, as the Bulldogs found avenues to goal through different sources. Jack Macrae, Jason Johannisen and Cody Weightman kicked two goals each.
"Our key forwards have played much better games as you know," Beveridge said.
"We've just got to continue to evolve and improve and learn from our experiences.
"We never felt comfortable. We had that little margin halfway through the last quarter and we knew they'd keep coming."
The Bulldogs flew back to Melbourne post-game on Saturday night in preparation for their round 19 clash with Adelaide, which is scheduled to be played in Ballarat next Sunday.