Finals is the buzz word amongst the Gold Coast community but it might come earlier than September. This week, in the battle of the Coast’s, is Gold Coast’s mid-season final.
The Suns have almost exceeded expectations so far in season 2014. Two short weeks ago the Rising Suns were perfectly situated at 7 wins, 2 losses and a remarkable 3rd on the ladder.
Everything had gone to plan. Wins over Richmond, Brisbane, Melbourne, GWS, North Melbourne, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs saw them sitting pretty and had the optimistic believing that top 4 wasn’t just a possibility it was more likely than not.
Now, with consecutive losses to Adelaide and Sydney the Suns have slid, rapidly, down the ladder to 8th position, scrambling to remain in the top 8.
This isn’t a criticism, this is the harsh, sobering reality that is a very competitive AFL season.
There is just 4 points the difference between 2nd and 8th and the Suns haven’t done themselves any favours with 48, 99, 32 and 35 point losses resulting in a percentage of 103.1%, the 2nd lowest in the top 8.
These points all lead to one cold hard fact, they must defeat the Eagles this week.
It must be treated as an Elimination Final.
The Eagles are precariously placed at 4 wins, 7 losses and have won 1 game in just 8 matches.
They have been labelled ‘flat track bullies’ in the media by expert commentators such as Footy Classified’s, Garry Lyon, and are desperate for a top 8 scalp. Gold Coast cannot let it be them.
Hard work can easily be undone in an AFL season and the start of the Suns can quickly unravel into a season of accepted mediocrity.
Coach Guy McKenna and skipper Gary Ablett cannot allow this to happen.
With a club in its infancy, still writing its first few chapters, still building its culture, it should set an example of excellence and over-achievement rather than acceptance and the midset that these things take time.
The Suns are rising towards their first tilt at a finals series but should they lose this week and slip away from the pack the challenge won’t be can the Suns make the finals but can they keep up with the big boys of the competition.
How important is this week for the Suns? Should they beat the Eagles?