The Gold Coast SUNS may have arrived back into Coolangatta airport late on Sunday night without four premiership points, but midfielder Dion Prestia believes the performance against Geelong has provided a confidence boost to help get the season back on track after a winless start.
Disappointing first-up performances against Melbourne and St Kilda were reminiscent of the SUNS in year one or year two. Not of a side many predicted to come of age in 2015 under new coach Rodney Eade. But in a spirited display against the Cats on their home deck, Gold Coast demonstrated how damaging they could be when they bring the right intent and an insatiable appetite for the contest.
Like he had done in the opening two weeks of the season, Prestia led from the front once again at Simonds Stadium. On this occasion, the leather-accumulating specialist collected a team-high 29 possessions to continue his rich vein of form.
Despite wasting a plethora of opportunities, and dominating many facets of the game, Prestia insisted the side’s response after two unacceptable performances was a major positive. Win, lose or draw, the effort and intensity, as well as a commitment to team defense must now be a minimum according to the ultra-consistent ball winner.
ROUND THREE MONDAY WASH-UP v GEELONG
“It’s a little bit of a confidence boost showing that we can do it, but that’s the baseline now, we don’t drop below that,” Prestia told reporters at the SUNS recovery session at Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club on Monday.
“We copped our whack which was fair enough, especially after the Melbourne game (against) St Kilda we were a little bit better. We worked on team defense all week this week and that’s going to be our motto going into the rest of the year. When we get that right – everything else falls into place.
“Obviously the first two weeks were really disappointing. Our effort wasn’t there and there were games that we were expected to win as well. So, we were a bit down after that but that’s why we got back to team defense. The last couple of years that’s worked for us.”
Eade: We didn't take our chances
When the Cats took the ascendancy after the main break by booting six unanswered goals, it looked like Gold Coast would be put to the sword. But, to their credit, the SUNS fought their way back into the contest and very nearly earned four valuable points at a venue that has been something of a fortress.
“They did get a run on in the third quarter. I think it was great by the boys to bring it back and control the game and get back into it,” Prestia said.
“We’ve been working on that – when teams get a run on, what do we do? Do we have a seventh defender? It was good that we worked it out on field and got it back.”