Back to drawing board for Suns after Swans drubbing

Joanna Guelas |

Sam Clohesy spills a mark. The Suns were misfiring all day against the Swans.
Sam Clohesy spills a mark. The Suns were misfiring all day against the Swans.

Gold Coast coach Damien Hardwick is heading back to the drawing board, admitting their 53-point defeat to Sydney feels like a step in the wrong direction.

After handing Hawthorn a thrashing of the same margin last round, the Suns became the architects of their 17.8 (110) to 8.9 (57) undoing at the SCG on Saturday.

Goals from Touk Miller and Ben King had helped cut their 25-point deficit to a two-goal game before a rash of unfortunate decision-making led to eight unanswered Swans goals in the second half.

Hardwick lamented his side’s performance after the Suns gave away two 50-metre penalties in the third quarter, with 10 forward-half turnovers and four goals from free kicks.

Isaac Heeney.
Isaac Heeney shone with 28 disposals and a goal on a frustrating day for the Suns. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

“Six of those turnover goals were effectively giveaways where there’s no pressure on it. It’s just basically kick it straight to the opposition,” Hardwick said.

“It’s frustrating because it feels like we’ve taken a step back, so we’ll go back to the drawing board.

“It means that we’re just not quite understanding what we’re trying to do in certain situations.

“When pressure comes, players revert back to things that we hadn’t quite trained enough, so we’ll get to work on that and we’ll get it better.”

The Suns’ woes were illustrated as they gifted rising key forward Joel Amartey the third of his four goals, when a pass from defender Mac Andrew to  Sam Flanders was ruled not to have travelled the required 15 metres.

Damien Hardwick.
Back to school for the Suns: Damien Hardwick will have much to work on at training this week. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS)

Flanders, assuming he had the mark, was quickly taken down by Amartey and penalised for holding the ball.

“Look, credit where credit’s due. (Sydney) is a great side but we didn’t help ourselves by just giving them easy scores,”  Hardwick said. 

“We had to sit there and take our chances. Funnily enough, we didn’t.

“That third quarter, we actually thought we were playing quite well, couldn’t quite capitalise on our scores, and then we give away two 50-metre penalties downfield, free kick for goal – game’s over.”

Gold Coast now face a home match against West Coast – suddenly a tough-looking challenge after the reigning wooden spooners beat Fremantle by 37 points to claim their first back-to-back victories since 2021.