SUNS Senior Coach Stuart Dew has rued his side’s loss to Melbourne on Saturday night it what was a “winnable game”.
The SUNS were level with the Demons midway through the final quarter before a late surge saw Melbourne claim the ascendency and the four points.
But Dew said the damage was done far earlier in the match with Gold Coast playing a direct hand in the majority of Melbourne’s goals.
“They had seven or eight goals from turnovers so execution and mainly decision-making (can improve),” Dew said post-match.
“I think at different times we can just take the easy one and not try to bite off more than we can chew.”
“Good teams make you pay and they were really good on the inside, but there were periods when we matched them and we had our opportunities with gettable goals but the turnovers (hurt us).”
“In the end this was a winnable game and we’ll walk away really frustrated that in parts we handed it to them far too easily.”
Dew believed the club had to learn to close games out better after getting into a position to win the game with control of the match.
Despite the result, one of the shining lights from the match was the emergence of Izak Rankine.
The sizzling forward playmaker kicked three goals from six shots on goal and played an impactful role in his first game of AFL football.
“You can see what we’ve been waiting for and he had such an impact which we knew he always would,” Dew said of Rankine’s debut performance.
“I think his pressure and chase gives him those opportunities.
“He got caught holding the ball twice and we’ll live with that because we want him to take the game on.
“We want him to make those decisions and back himself to take the game on; we’re never going to strip him of his flair, the boys trust him in that.
“We want to make sure our supporters get really exciting about what he can bring to the footy club among other guys.”
The match was also Jarrod Harbrow’s 250th in the AFL and Dew was disappointed the club wasn’t able to celebrate the milestone with a win.
But with one more week based in Wollongong, the team has an opportunity to turn things around this weekend against Sydney.
“When we look at this game we’ll see how much we contributed to their scores,” Dew said.
“Again we’ll go back to how much we control the game and it’s within that where we can improve.
“There’s a few things that we can tinker with but at the end of the day I think some of our decision making under pressure, that’s the rehearsal part that we’re talking about.”