Beaten but unbowed, Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna says the Suns’ 35-point loss to in-form Sydney is no reason to write off his charges just yet.
After climbing into the top four with five straight wins over lower-ranked teams, the Suns have now begun a challenging stretch of matches with losses to Adelaide and the Swans.
But while the defeat to the Crows was clearly disappointing to McKenna, he was far happier with the performance in the 17.7 (109) to 10.14 (74) loss to Sydney.
“There was obviously a fair few too many having a holiday last week and we did what we did,” McKenna said.
“Tonight was another step forward for our group.
“When I say step forward, we might have just stubbed our toe that’s all, but we didn’t trip, didn’t fall, we’re moving forward.”
The tale could have been different for the Suns if they had been more clinical in front of goal, particularly in a first quarter when they kicked 1.6 to Sydney’s 4.3.
In the end, the Swans held an element of control over their rivals despite the Suns’ fight and key defenders Rory Thompson and Steven May doing a great job on Swans stars Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett.
Franklin managed three goals but none of them could be faulted to May while Tippett, who booted five goals in last weekend’s 110-point win over Geelong, was held goalless by Thompson before being subbed at three-quarter time with knee soreness.
Thankfully for Swans coach John Longmire the support cast of Harry Cunningham (four goals) and Sam Reid (three goals) picked up the slack as the Swans claimed their seventh-consecutive win.
“We know that they’re a good team,” Longmire said of the Suns.
“We know that they’re not an easy team to beat anywhere let alone up here.
“It wasn’t an easy one but in the end I thought it was a really good win.”
Tippett’s fitness will be monitored ahead of next weekend’s top-of-the-table blockbuster against competition leaders Port Adelaide while Franklin could face a nervous wait for the match review panel findings after he caught Suns’ defender Clay Cameron with a late bump in the second quarter.