SUNS Senior Coach Stuart Dew has praised his side’s efforts to fight back to get into a winning position in the match against St Kilda on Thursday night.
The SUNS ultimately went down by four points but Dew could only commend his side for showing maturity to come back from a 15-point deficit midway through the third quarter to regain the lead.
“The overall message was we were in it up to our eyeballs and had our opportunities,” Dew said post-match.
“They’re hurting a little bit because we’re playing a red-hot team and had the opportunity to win, but geez it’s exciting to see them come back.
“When they kicked four goals in a row and to be able to fight back showed real maturity but also some grit.
“There were periods there were they were well on top and we just hung in but then pushed back.
“In terms of the messaging to the lads; we can’t fault their heart and effort.
“I think that’s what was missing last week so pleasingly the leaders got together and wound everyone up and we had a real crack at it.”
The SUNS gave up some easy goals early in the match which Dew said would be reviewed, but aside from that there were no other major deficits in Gold Coast’s game.
The club won the clearance count (36-21), inside 50’s (51-47), tackles (51-42) and contested possessions (136-131) but Dew said the Saints were able to get on top in the critical moments.
“I think we gave ourselves an opportunity and we hit the right spots at the right time,” he said.
“Certainly there’s nothing glaring tonight in terms of our method.
“I think in the end St Kilda won their moments when it counted but I think we had the right idea and the right setup that we wanted but weren’t able to get it done.
“I think at different times we had to work harder for our goals but their fall of ball method is really impressive.”
Despite just the one win from the last four matches, Dew said the players had no misgivings in their form and knew they could win every match.
“We talk about how we’re trying to build belief, I think they’re not trying to build it anymore – they’re getting belief,” he said.
“Don’t get me wrong, there’s hurt players in the locker room, but on the flip side we are right in the games.
“Even last week when we were poor we were still in the game.
“In terms of what it does for the group, it’s exciting and I think it’s going to bind them together even more going through these experiences and hold us in good stead down the track.”