The Gold Coast Suns have had some absolute stinkers, some very recently, but Sunday’s 72 point loss to Port Adelaide in Shanghai was the clubs worst in its history.
It was not the size of the loss; they have been thumped by much more this year alone.
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It was not even the poor skills, decision making and lack of aggression at the contest, though obviously this combination of factors didn’t help.
What made the loss at the weekend the worst in the club’s history was the complete failure to seize the moment.
Huge amounts of corporate dollars and potential memberships, a spot in the top 8, pride, passion, history – the Suns had every reason imaginable to win on Sunday and failed miserably when it mattered most
Not even after a massive war of words build up between Suns Chairman Tony Cochrane and Port President David Koch, one that saw Cochrane speak of pride in the jumper and the integrity of the club, could the Suns steel themselves for a gutsy upset victory.
They even had momentum and confidence, having beaten Geelong at home the week before.
Surely they knew what this game meant, that there were bigger factors than 4 pts at play.
They should have taken a grand final type mentality into the contest – give everything or die trying.
And after you’re dead, get up and give more.
You can bet your life that Koch and Power coach Ken Hinkley were in the Port rooms before the game impressing upon the players this exact sentiment.
Sure some fans could point to the young list and lack of experience, or perhaps the late withdrawal of key defender Rory Thompson in the warm up.
Some, like Suns coach Rodney Eade, could sit there and scratch their heads lamenting that they ‘didn’t see that coming’.
But none of that matters at the end of the day.
What matters is when it counted, we missed targets, made poor decisions, didn’t tackle, weren’t hard enough, sold teammates into trouble, and didn’t run hard enough for nearly long enough.
When it mattered most, Eade was comprehensively outcoached.
Sitting there in stunned silence at half time – even before the second half carnage and lack of effort even started – my subconscious reached for words to explain what I was seeing.
It settled upon a film from my youth, a scene in which a grown man named Billy Madison becomes angry at his classmate Ernie whilst on the phone.
Three words echoed in my mind throughout the whole second half.
“You blew it!”