SUNS Senior Coach Stuart Dew was proud of his team’s response on Monday night after a disappointing result in the QClash last week.
With a man down for the majority of the night, the SUNS took it up to Collingwood at the Gabba and gave themselves a chance to win the game, but ultimately rued missed opportunities to get over the line.
Dew said that ability to capitalise on chances inside 50 was the difference between the two sides but was nonetheless happy with his team’s performance against a finals-bound club.
“There were some frustrating parts but after last week we had to put a bit of pride back in.
“We reviewed the game last week pretty hard so I think for the group to show they can respond in that way (was pleasing).
“We had opportunities but the good teams make you pay and that was the difference, they took their chances.”
Greasy conditions at ground level meant clean skills and scoring opportunities were at a premium, but high pressure from both sides saw the ball often in dispute.
Dew said the SUNS lacked composure at times, but it was a valuable learning experience of what’s required for finals-standard football.
“We want to play a quick, exciting brand of footy but just at different times we need to take a little bit of a breath and just gather our thoughts a bit,” he said.
“We rushed it at different times which we know with a younger group that can happen.
“But we have been talking about momentum swings and the speed of the game so there’s also some good examples where we were able to be patient and wait for our opportunities.
“It’s one of those ones where the team we were playing against was playing for a spot in the finals so it’s not like they were going through the motions.
“The fact that four or five minutes into the last (quarter) we were within a kick shows that our boys turned up to play.”
With one game remaining in the 2020 season, against Hawthorn on Sunday, the SUNS will be focussed on finishing the season on a winning note.
The SUNS haven’t had much success in the final month of their previous few seasons, but Dew said the performance last night shows that’s not the case anymore.
“We’re a different team and a different club now,” he said.
“Last week we were well off and Brisbane taught us a lesson but I think we learned something from that and brought that into the game tonight.
“We set our bar high tonight in terms of our intensity and effort and I’m sure our supporters can’t question the players’ heart and effort tonight.
“We created opportunities, we’ve just got to grab these ones against good teams.”