Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade was left searching for answers after the Suns capitulated in an embarrassing 20-goal AFL loss to rampant Geelong.
The undermanned Suns started reasonably well at Simonds Stadium on Saturday night, heading into the first break just 14 points adrift.
But thereafter it quickly turned into a horror show for the visitors, who booted only four goals in the remaining three quarters as the Cats racked up their highest score since late 2011.
“That was more than a poor performance,” said Eade.
“We thought our first-quarter effort was good, the method was OK but we just made some mistakes and the execution wasn’t great.
“But from about 10 minutes into the second quarter onwards it was just appalling, just not acceptable.
“It was embarrassing.”
“Former Geelong great Gary Ablett was one of few Suns to put in a four-quarter effort in the 25.18 (168) to 7.6 (48) defeat.
In contrast the Cats had a host of dominant players headed by Patrick Dangerfield, Steven Motlop, Joel Selwood and Tom Hawkins.
“There are always glib answers but the effort just dropped away and that’s not acceptable,” said Eade.
“You can always lose.
“We made a lot of mistakes but by the same token we were beaten at the contest, we were beaten at the centre bounces, the ball was stripped away from us, the lack of run defensively was poor.
“It’s got to be the mental side of it.
“There’s no doubt some blokes couldn’t cope with the confidence being down and dropped their effort, which you’ve got control of.”
The undermanned Suns hope to have running defender Adam Saad back for next Saturday’s home clash with Melbourne.
But Trent McKenzie will miss several weeks after damaging his left ankle against the Cats, while key-position player Sam Day hurt his back.
The coach also flagged several other unforced changes at the selection table.
“We can’t just gloss over (such a big loss) and say we’ll bounce back next week – it’s how you bounce back,” said Eade.
“We are going to have to turn blokes over, there is no doubt we are going to have to make some changes.
“We can’t just say it’s an aberration – we’re going to have to make some changes and get some players in who are prepared to fight the fight.”