SUNS Senior Coach Stuart Dew says his side doesn’t need to look far to see what it takes to be an elite team in the AFL.
The SUNS were handed a number of lessons by the red-hot Western Bulldogs on Saturday night, and they are learnings Dew isn’t going to let slide in the review this week.
“They gave us a fair look at the yardstick of the competition, and the midfield, even sitting at ground level they're big bodies, they hit hard, they drive through and almost invite the pressure,” Dew said post-match.
“We didn't handle that so we discussed at halftime we talked about wanting to respond.
“The third quarter was obviously the style of play, we wanted to go in into the game.
“They responded, but that's not a position we want to be in every week at all.”
Dew said in the rooms at halftime he pointed out how it was a “career-defining half” and a performance that would reflect the club’s continued improvement.
“It could have gone two ways and I'm sure at different periods late in the second quarter some people watching people at the ground would have thought, here we go this is a 100-plus (point loss),” Dew said.
“We were determined not to let that happen.
“I think what we can say is a side that responds is a side that has some pride and got some confidence about where we need to get to.”
The SUNS were far more competitive in that second half, in the end winning the third quarter convincingly and narrowly losing the half by one point.
Dew praised the efforts of the two inclusions for the match, Jy Farrar and Josh Corbett.
“There's a couple of guys that came into the side and played like their lives depended on it,” he said.
“I thought Jy Farrar, second gamer, I put a circle around his name and said well, if a second gamer can do it, other blokes have to step up.
“Obviously Josh Corbett - his work rate was super as well.”
“He showed today he should start to feel comfortable at AFL level and he’s a tough matchup because he works hard, he's good on the ground, he's obviously got sticky hands. It’s a good example for our lads.”
Dew said this weekend would be another great test as the SUNS look to rebound with a win against Sydney at Metricon Stadium.
“We're a bit wounded, but we'll pick ourselves up and go again next week,” Dew said.
“We can give them (players) the evidence that they can compete at the level, it's for how long.
“But as a whole organization we feel we've got to get over that hump, we're not going to lose faith at all.”