For a team that earned so many credits in the first half of 2019, Gold Coast gave a few back with two listless quarters against Richmond on Saturday.

After eight largely unsuccessful seasons in the AFL, the Suns wanted to regain respect around the competition this year.

Three wins on the trot in the first month had the footy community buzzing, and for many of the past 11 losses, Gold Coast was rightfully praised for being a tough team to play.

The young Suns ran out of legs late in the odd match, but have improved their contested ball work and been more difficult to score against.

Perceptions were changing.

But that took a hit on Saturday.

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The first half against Richmond was deplorable, or as coach Stuart Dew rightfully said "embarrassing".

Conceding 103 points in two quarters in greasy conditions is almost unfathomable.

To rub salt into the wounds, teenager Wil Powell was taken off late in the first quarter with a knee injury and is likely to miss the remainder of the season.

As Dew pointed out post-match, the horror half is not a habit, but the past month would worry him.

Blown away in the first quarter against North Melbourne, fading in the second half against Sydney and now only fighting once the match was gone against Richmond.

"We have to be accountable to that, we have to bounce back," Dew said.

"We have to face it, we can't park this.

"When you have young teams, you go through waves.

"I have heard Fages (Brisbane coach Chris Fagan) talk about it, sometimes you can move on and park it, take the good, but I think at this point we do need to give good clarity about what we are after from this footy club.

"We can't brush this one.

"On Monday we will strip it back, get a bit of clarity around what we expect."

While Dew conceded the third quarter fightback – Gold Coast kicked four goals to three – might have been as much about Richmond easing off, he was pleased to see a response.

"At half-time everyone is looking at it and saying: 'gee where do we sit?'

"But then when they are able to bounce (in third term), it gives you hope."

Two beacons on a gloomy day were co-captains Jarrod Witts and David Swallow.

WATCH: Swallow post-match

The first half would have reminded Swallow of his first year at the club, 2011, when Gold Coast coughed up a century in a half to both Essendon and Geelong.

But both he and Witts battled manfully. With 13 and 15 contested possessions respectively, they were the two highest on the ground in that category.

"It shows we have a couple of ripping captains in our midst," Dew said.

"I am really proud of the way they played under that heat, staring at 84 points (down) at half-time."

Gold Coast has a huge test against Adelaide next week and needs to start redirecting its season before it spirals out of control.

What started with such promise is now just teetering a little.