Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade has poured cold water on expectations of the AFL expansion club after their limp round one loss to Melbourne.
The Suns were flat for long periods and out-muscled by a new-look Demons side, which finished 17th last season.
Eade made no attempt to hide his anger at the performance, leading him to a gloomy outlook for Gold Coast in 2015.
The former Sydney and Bulldogs coach says the Suns should forget about finals until their effort matches their talent.
“I think still a couple of years away at least, no doubt,” he told Channel Seven on Sunday.
“On the back of yesterday, maybe there’s an over-reliance on Gary (Ablett).
“(Maybe) it is 21, 22-year-olds that have been told that they have talent and they think that talent is going to get them through.
“I think we need to go past that … we need to stand up.”
The news from Queensland didn’t get any better for Eade, with Jaeger O’Meara set for a long absence with a ruptured patella from a Suns reserves match.
“He will be out for the season I would think,” Eade said of O’Meara.
“We were close to picking him … he played in a boggy heap at Coorparoo.
“It just seems like a freak accident, he went to soccer the ball and a guy came across his knee front on, hit him and hyperextended his knee.”
At least Ablett’s outlook is better, who Eade said “looked a bit rusty” but would be better for the run after an interrupted pre-season.
Eade’s comments on the Suns’ progression may come as a shock to club bosses, who replaced foundation coach Guy McKenna with Eade after their 2014 finals campaign fell flat, finishing 12th.
McKenna told ABC radio he believed he would still be senior coach if it wasn’t for Ablett’s shoulder injury, having qualified for September football.
But anyone at the MCG on Saturday saw only one 2015 finals aspirant and it wasn’t Gold Coast.
Eade said it was a disappointing performance on his return to senior coaching.
“We didn’t play very well at all … we got outworked,” he said.
“The disappointing part was things that we’d trained and practised for four months just weren’t there.
“For whatever reason they didn’t bring their effort down with them on the plane.
“And that’s the first thing you need to win a game of footy.”