Merely competing is no longer the standard Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew wants his Suns to achieve.
Last weekend’s 44-point AFL upset win over West Coast may have been the club’s first in 20 matches, but Dew believes it shows the much-maligned Suns finally have a group of players who can deliver regular, sustained success.
Dew is keenly aware it will be a step backwards if his team doesn’t back up their win over the Eagles with another performance against an Adelaide side seemingly ripe for the plucking at Metricon Stadium this Sunday.
The Crows were embarrassed in last week’s Showdown and have arrived on the Gold Coast to enter the Queensland hub without utility Wayne Milera, who has been sidelined for two months due to stress fractures in his foot.
While Adelaide has a perfect 13-0 record against Gold Coast, the Suns know they’re facing a vulnerable opponent this weekend.
It’s a level of expectation Dew is backing his team to handle.
“We’ve probably shifted that expectation in house … our time is now,” Dew said.
“We’re more than capable. We’re not here to just compete and do all the fluffy stuff. We’re here to win and get four points like every other team.
“The fact we’ve shifted that dialogue internally, that just marries up with external … we think we can handle the external stuff as well.”
Reflective of the Suns’ bullish outlook, the club had an unusually difficult selection meeting on Thursday.
While co-captain David Swallow and star recruit Brandon Ellis were always going to be put into the team after missing the Eagles win through suspension and injury respectively, just who’d miss out wasn’t straightforward.
In the end Brayden Fiorini and Sean Lemmens were the two players to make way.
The Crows meanwhile have named teenage defender Will Hamill to make his AFL debut in place of the injured Milera in the only change from the team which lost to Port Adelaide.