Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew has lamented his side's poor start against West Coast on Saturday night but says he was pleased with the Suns' spirited second-half response that almost saw them steal an unlikely victory.
The Suns were blown away in the first half by a potent Eagles outfit, who kicked five goals to one in the second quarter to lead by 39 points at the main break.
Five unanswered goals from the Suns either side of three-quarter time reduced the margin to 11 points, but the Eagles held on with two late goals to run out 23-point winners.
Dew said it was a tale of two halves that ultimately ended in the Eagles' favour.
"(We're) really disappointed with the way we started. I thought we were a bit off," Dew said.
"Our starts have been reasonably good this year but the last couple of weeks have been poor.
"But we challenged them [the players] pretty firmly at half-time and they responded with some physicality and some run."
Jarrod Harbrow (30 disposals) and Jack Martin (29) helped get the Suns back in the contest and Dew said he was pleased his players took responsibility in the second half rather than going into their shells.
"The coaches talked to them (at half-time) but then they took the responsibility and wanted to do something about it," he said.
"With such a young group, they showed something tonight and that's what we've focused on after the game, their ability to respond against a far more experienced team.
"The way the group took responsibility … was the most pleasing thing."
Jack Darling ripped the Suns' defence apart with three goals in the second term, and Dew blamed a breakdown in ball movement that allowed too many easy forward 50 entries.
Dew said that second-quarter dominance proved the difference in the end.
"We were outmuscled and outclassed in the first half," Dew said.
"When you give a side such a big buffer it's hard to peg back, let alone the reigning premiers on their home ground.
"We're disappointed we didn't start well because it has been a strength and we'll get back to that next week."