The fuel gauge is on empty but Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade is hoping he can eke a few more miles out of his ailing Suns squad.
Last weekend’s 83-point thrashing by Richmond came with a second half display which suggests the toll of an injury-marred AFL season has left many of the Suns out of legs in the last straight of the campaign.
The Suns host fellow strugglers Essendon on Saturday, but Eade expects the visitors to be up for the contest after the midweek resignation of James Hird.
With ruckman Tom Nicholls (knee), midfielder Jarrod Harbrow (ankle) and key forward Charlie Dixon (ankle) all joining the Suns’ lengthy injury list following the Tigers defeat, Eade knows the well is almost dry for his playing group.
But he believes the final three matches of a disappointing season could tell him a lot about the fortitude within his squad.
“It’s more about let’s get something out of the last three weeks, even if we don’t get a win, if we keep the effort that we’ve had for the previous eight or nine weeks and we can see some players growing, I’ve got no doubt that’ll give us impetus into next year,” he said.
“Players don’t want to drop away because they’ll probably have other players go past them.”
The Bombers head north after another turbulent week with Hird falling on his sword after a controversial reign marred by the ASADA scandal.
While Essendon’s form is no better than the Suns, Eade is wary of a fired-up opponent with plenty to prove.
“It’s always hard to predict,” he said.
“Obviously they’ve had a fair bit going on for the past few years but, generally, history shows teams have a bit of a spike with a change of coach. More than anything they’ll probably get freed up and just let them play to their natural instincts.
“That’s always a difficult one to prepare for.”