Gold Coast’s two-point loss to Melbourne was heartbreaking but the effort against Greater Western Sydney shows Gold Coast could be an AFL force in 2017.
The Suns pushed the high-flying Giants all the way at Metricon Stadium on Saturday before running out of legs as GWS snatched an eight-point win.
It’s mostly been a season to forget for the Suns, with an injury list including six of the club’s top midfielders, including inspirational captain Gary Ablett, ensuring they never had a realistic shot at the finals.
But the performance against the Giants – particularly by youngsters such as Jarrod Garlett, Jack Martin and Jesse Joyce – suggests brighter days are ahead.
“Really, since the Sydney game, the last eight weeks has been fantastic,” Eade said.
“Probably three of those games we should have won. Pushed Hawthorn, won three out of four, so I think the confidence has been building.
“Tonight’s performance … six of our best midfielders out, the players have just risen to the occasion.
“It will give them confidence going forward that no matter who’s there they can give effort, so it was great.”
Giants coach Leon Cameron, who’s overseen his team’s emergence as a genuine force this season, says there’s no doubt an injury-free Suns will be an ominous proposition.
“Their performance tonight was really, really good,” Cameron said.
“It took every bit of effort for us to get over the line.
“For what they’re doing at the moment with that amount of injuries, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with probably in the last three weeks but also next year when they get those cattle back.”