SUNS Senior Coach Stuart Dew has rued missed opportunities which cost his side in Thursday night’s slog against the Western Bulldogs at Metricon Stadium.
The SUNS were in the contest all night long in what Dew labelled as an “old-fashioned arm-wrestle”, but ultimately couldn’t get over the line in the dying minutes.
Despite the result, Dew said he couldn’t fault his team’s efforts in slippery conditions.
“We hung in and gave ourselves every opportunity,” Dew said post-match.
“But there were some missed opportunities in the last and there were also missed opportunities in the other quarters as well.
“I thought the Bulldogs early on supported the contest much better and credit to them, when the game was there to be won, they cranked it up and we were unable to take our chances.
“But we’ll learn on the job with that one - it’s a missed opportunity but we can’t question our players’ heart and effort.”
Dew said the positive from the match was to see the players give themselves every chance to take home the four points against a top-quality side.
“There were some periods of the game, particularly the third quarter where we more than matched them,” he said.
“At different times we did execute well but I think in the conditions we gave ourselves every opportunity to win the game.
“We were really proud of the playing group tonight.
“We had a five day break which we all know we have to get used to but we ran the game out strongly and had a look at it.”
The match was Gold Coast’s first standalone game in a primetime slot and Dew said he hoped his team had lived up to expectations.
Despite nine days until the next match, the SUNS will have to get acclimatised to the short turnarounds with a condensed fixture over the next month.
Dew said the club would employ a case-by-case selection policy when it came to resting players due to the shorter recovery periods between matches.
“We have a little break now which is good so we’ll freshen a few guys up,” he said.
“You don’t want to forecast too much, you want to keep the players in that weekly cycle and call it as it comes.
“But you can anticipate that if games are as hard and tough as that, there may be one or two that could freshen up but other guys get opportunities that are hungry.
“And I’m talking league-wide, I think supporters of clubs will get a bit more of a look at lists and I think if everyone is doing that as much as they can I think it will even out.”
The SUNS take on GWS at Metricon Stadium next Sunday in Round 9.