Gold Coast was "too cute" in its use of the footy, and its concentration throughout quarters was a serious issue in the disappointing 28-point loss to Essendon.

SUNS coach Stuart Dew felt his side had improved somewhat on last week's effort in the demolition by Sydney, but said there is still serious improvement needed.

"We had massive opportunities in that third (quarter) to build some distance, and we got too cute with the footy. Essendon, full credit, cranked up their pressure," Dew said.

"It was an arm wrestle. We're really disappointed with the finish, clearly. We came to play a good, balanced brand of footy, and we lost our way in the last quarter. But having said that, we felt we should've had more gap at three-quarter time, but you can't change it.

"I think in the end, that's the gap – we didn't finish off, we didn't finish off quarters, I think there were probably three or four goals in the last minute across the course of the game, so our discipline to finish the quarter, in the end, that bites you.

"Look, it was improved, but I feel a bit sick saying that, to be honest. So it was, but I think there's still work to do. At different times, we were too choosy, so we have to sort that out, sort out both sides of the ball. I think that's what we'll get to work on, make sure we play both sides of the ball to maximum speed."

After kicking three goals in the VFL on Saturday, Dew left the door open for a recall for key forward Mabior Chol who was left out of the side in Round 2.

The SUNS coach said they would continue to look at the forward line combination in the lead up to Round 3.

"We found [the forward line mix] hard to judge last week, because our pressure wasn't enough, and that wasn't anything to do with height. We obviously made the change this week," Dew said.

"It looked a little bit better, but we'll sit down, look at the opposition as well and look at us, look at conditions and make the call. Ben [King] is able to play full minutes now, a little bit restricted last week, so I think we'll get to work, see how they train and pull up and continually look at that mix."

Dew said Wil Powell was in the mix for a return to AFL level after playing half a game in the VFL on Saturday, while also confirming Sean Lemmens was likely to return through the VFL next week.

Next up for the SUNS is an encounter against Geelong on Sunday at Heritage Bank Stadium.