GOLD Coast has been one of the surprise packets during the first half of the AFL Women's season, and emerging young defender Daisy D'Arcy credits its "team identity" for the turnaround.
The Suns went winless in 2021, and after hiring Cameron Joyce as their new coach, have split their opening four rounds with two wins and two losses ahead of Friday night's date with Geelong at Metricon Stadium.
The wins – against West Coast and Richmond – have come after trailing during the final quarter.
Even last Saturday's 12-point loss to powerhouse Melbourne looked like being much worse before Gold Coast rallied in the second half.
There's a steel to the Suns this year.
D'Arcy, the 19-year-old rebounding defender who finished third in the club's best and fairest in her inaugural season, said working on team identity had been critical.
"We wanted to be seen as a more united team this year and I think that's played a huge role in our performance, just having faith in each other and knowing we can get the job done together," she told womens.afl.
"I think we've focussed on staying stronger for longer.
"Last season we were good for the first quarter, and a bit of the second quarter, and then we'd die off.
"We'd like to think we're fourth quarter fighters now. It's been a big focus."
Joyce said his mantra was simple from the moment he walked in – he wanted the Suns to be difficult to play against.
So far, so good.
"There's a belief in the way we want to play and when we do it, it works," he said.
"They've got that belief and understanding of that.
"There's certainly that will to want to get better and want to improve and want to win."
D'Arcy, from Townsville in north Queensland, was an incredible junior sportswoman, representing her state in soccer, cricket, rugby sevens and footy, before settling on the latter after her time in the Suns Academy.
She has kicked on following last season's strong personal form, displaying poise beyond her years with ball in hand.
"I feel like I've been travelling alright," she said.
"Last year definitely gave me a bit of confidence. I haven't played much footy in my lifetime, so to achieve what I did in my first year definitely gave me some confidence."