Where was that effort two weeks ago, or last week?
That is what the fans are saying this morning.
It was inevitable that the euphoria of yesterday’s win would turn to frustration from fans unable to wrap their heads around the footy axiom ‘they did/didn’t turn up’.
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There were very good reasons why Gold Coast fans had hope and expectations in their hearts heading into 2017 – the Suns have assembled a legitimate Top 8 list.
But after a fortnight of effortless, horrible footy to start the season, the Suns license was on the verge of heading to Hobart, and the lord of footy G Ablett was to be put out to pasture.
Then along came yesterday’s four-quarter effort filled with skill and desire, resulting in a club record 93-point victory against a team the Suns have never ever beaten in Hawthorn.
The 350 people in the stands enjoyed it immensely.
That is the first problem.
Had fans known they would get desire, aggression, skill and ticker, then they would have fronted make no mistake.
But they didn’t KNOW.
A small portion of the faithful hoped, but no one knew.
And that is the problem – after seven seasons we don’t KNOW which Suns team will turn up.
There is an unwritten contract between fan and player – we both turn up, every week. No matter what.
I’ll scream my guts out for you, you play your guts out for me.
No matter what.
You can’t just turn up when you want to and expect a loyal and growing fan base (or even to remain in the AFL).
So which is it Suns?
Confidence doesn’t bring you effort; it is quite the other way around.
You build confidence from effort – from smothers, tackles, and unrewarded gut-running for your teammates.
That win yesterday makes the losses to the Lions and Giants so much worse; it makes the start to season 2017 so much more embarrassing.
Hopefully the players are aware of this and that performance on Sunday was the start of a prolonged period of sustained effort and aggression – a slow-burning anger and frustration at being laughed at by the footy world.
Because if the Suns go to Melbourne and get beaten (let alone flogged) by the Blues, with Curnow tagging Ablett out of the game and a general lack of effort affecting the team’s defensive run and hardness at the ball, then the heat will come back on like the Suns have never felt it before.