Gold Coast is mired in a 17-game losing streak but senior coach Stuart Dew is confident this is as bad as it gets for his club.
The Suns were never in their clash with Hawthorn, dominated early as the Hawks eased to a 70-point win under the roof at Marvel Stadium.
It's been a brutal run for the Suns since they were 3-1 in mid-April, falling away badly since then to collect the wooden spoon.
The run of defeats is the second-longest in the club's history – there were 21 in 2011-12.
However, Dew remains resolute in his belief improvement will come next season.
"Absolutely. Not being silly but we've had a fair few players that have had career-best years. Now they might be second-year players, so how much is their impact on the game? That may be minimal on the outside, but we see the growth on the inside," Dew said.
"Synergy's going to be a big thing and obviously consistency of being able to pick our best 22. When you put all the magnets up on the board, that's exciting, and we certainly have seen some opportunities come from this year where we've lost players to injuries.
"Caleb Graham's played in his first year. He's come from north Queensland and it's been a big journey for him. Sitting there at the start of the year, he's probably thinking he's two years away from AFL football. Now, he's just played two games, he's going to play a third.
"That stuff will amount to things. Not today, but we certainly think another summer, all together, training well, pushing each other and having the same attitude as we did last summer, we are confident."
Injuries have decimated Gold Coast, and that was evident by the options Dew had available to man retiring Hawk Jarryd Roughead, who booted six goals while lined up against Chris Burgess, Caleb Graham and Charlie Ballard.
"It was an interesting day. We had two first-years and a second-year (player) playing on a legend of the game. When it's coming down like that, it's always going to be a tough ask … we didn't start until half-time," Dew said.
One potential reason for excitement is the potential inclusion of last year's No.3 draftee Izak Rankine. Hamstring and hip injuries have sidelined him in his debut campaign but he returned via the NEAFL on Saturday, collecting 14 disposals, laying nine tackles and booting a goal against Sydney, with Dew an interested onlooker.
Debuting him next Saturday night against Greater Western Sydney is an option Dew will certainly consider.
"There's temptation. When you see what he did, there's temptation," Dew said.
"It'll be a bigger conversation with how much work he's done and the risk and reward for that."
Another who could come in is out-of-contract star Jack Martin, who hurt a knee early in a NEAFL game a fortnight ago and would have been recalled to face Hawthorn if he was declared fit.
"He'd hurt his knee early in the game and pulled up OK, but post the game was a little bit swollen. We expect him to get moving early in the week and see how he goes from there," Dew said.
Sam Day copped an early head knock against Hawthorn and pulled up well initially but later suffered a migraine, but Dew said he was "cherry ripe" after the match.