Despite losing a fourth straight game on the road to move to 4-4 overall, the SUNS coach was keeping his cool with the bigger picture.

"I'm eight games in. How smooth did you think it was going to be?" he asked.

"It's going to be up and down. That's the reality of where we're at.

"We just want to keep our head above water until halfway. We'll learn some lessons along the way."

Hardwick said they would beat the teams around them on the ladder, but still had a big gap to the likes of Brisbane, Sydney and Greater Western Sydney, who they have lost to in the past five weeks.

"We know where the gap is, we need to get better," he said.

"We need to start getting off the porch and running with the big dogs. We're not off the porch yet."

The SUNS next face North Melbourne at Darwin’s TIO Stadium on Saturday night. Tickets available here.