Coach’s blunt admission after thrashing

Gold Coast senior coach Stuart Dew admits he is “under the pump” after Port Adelaide pummelled the insipid Suns by 50 points at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.

The side faces North Melbourne in Hobart this Saturday afternoon in what amounts to a must-win for the Suns, who entered 2021 with lofty expectations only to have disappointingly fizzled to a 4-9 record after back-to-back losses at the hands of Fremantle and Port since the bye.

For all intents and purposes, it looks like Groundhog Day at the Suns. Another year of dwelling in the AFL cellar after glimpses of brighter days proved to be false dawns.

Dew said the Suns failed to handle the early pressure from the Power and lacked courage to stick to the game plan in a contest that resembled “men v boys” with Port Adelaide midfielder Ollie Wines bullying his way to a career-high 44 disposals.

The only sour note for the Power was a suspected medial ligament injury to Robbie Gray in his 250th senior appearance.

Dew said the “spark” and “heartbeat” shown in the fourth term meant little after the first three terms were so “frustrating” as the Power kicked seven unanswered goals across the first and second terms and went on with the job after the main break to have a 58-point buffer at the last change.

Dew said the buck always stopped with him.

“If the club’s under the pump, then of course I’m under the pump. But to be fair, that’s every week,’’ he said.

“People ask if you’re under pressure, yeah, every day because you’ve got to make hundreds of decisions. We’re looking after 50 lads, there’s staff. As a club, we take it really seriously.

“We’re really confident in our group of people … we’re on the right track, we’re working really hard. You never get asked that after a win. The pressure’s the same each week personally.

“I don’t think it fluctuates as much as it does externally. For me it’s at a healthy level.”

He said the response from the Suns after the loss to the Dockers was “disappointing” and the Gold Coast needed to lift appreciably to beat the Kangaroos.

“We’ve got to go down with the attitude of look how they played against GWS, in front all day,’’ Dew said.

“I know a couple of people at that footy club, and they really feel like they’re on the verge of getting over the hump.

“It’s a great challenge for us, we’ll have both skippers out but we’re looking for others to step up, step in.

“Teams will put you under that pressure and ask the question whether you’re capable of playing to that intensity.

“It’s not going to go anywhere. We’ve got nine games and it’s not about where teams are on the ladder.

“When a team starts like that, it dents your confidence, but we’ve got to make sure it’s not fatal or final.”

AFL legend Jonathan Brown called the Suns’ performance “embarrassing” and “disappointing”. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )Source:Getty Images

Co-captain David Swallow (concussion) was subbed out of the game in the first half while Lachie Weller suffered a hamstring injury. Port’s Lachie Jones also did a hamstring and will go for scans along with Gray.

Port senior coach Ken Hinkley said Wines’ outstanding effort was in line with his 2021 season.

“He had a great day. He’s had a great year, it’s not just a great day, a great year,’’ he said.

“He’s been able to rack up big numbers. His job is to get in and under and get it for us and he does it as well as anyone in the competition.’’

Hinkley said it was a clinical victory and another building block towards the side that Port wants to be.

“We’re building, we’ve been playing OK. We just haven’t been playing great, but we are getting better,’’ he said.

“We are getting a bit more consistent … it hasn’t been perfect for us. I reckon we are starting to look and feel like a really good team without getting the results that we want.

“Good teams are able to do what we’ve been able to do at the moment which is not play perfect but win.

“It was a really, really strong performance playing against a team that is probably struggling, to be fair but we were able to come up and perform the way we wanted to perform.

“We knew there would be some risks with them early because they were coming off a poor performance, but I think we were pretty good early and started the game the way we liked it and got the scoreboard under control pretty quickly.”

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