Frustrated Lions champion Jonathan Brown has lashed Gold Coast for its latest big loss, labelling them “embarrassing” and lamenting their ignominious defensive pressure.
The Suns on Saturday lost their fifth game from their past six attempts, with Port Adelaide recording a powerful and comprehensive 50-point win at Metricon Stadium.
Stuart Dew’s side recorded their lowest score of the season, but Brown was livid at their lack of pressure on the ball carrier.
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The Suns conceded 96 uncontested marks yet lost the tackle count by four. The lack of pressure was exemplified by the fact eight of the Power’s 11 goals were generated from their defensive half.
“They (the Power) are able to transition too easy … they’re really walking through the Gold Coast Suns defence across the board,” Brown told Fox Footy.
“Just looking at some of the Suns midfielders chasing, it’s pretty ordinary.
“Their application and intensity to that team defence and their want to cut out those options just hasn’t been there all day, apart from the first five minutes of the game. This has been really disappointing. Yes they’re young, but there’s no excuse for the lack of effort and the ability for Port Adelaide just to waltz through.
“It’s been embarrassing, frankly. I know that’s harsh, but this is AFL football.”
Bulldogs games record-holder Brad Johnson added: “They’ve got one genuine worker out there in the midfield and that’s (Touk) Miller. Outside of that … defensively they’re not getting back with speed.”
When the game was still up for grabs at the start of the third term, the Suns’ lack of intent was on full display. Ten minutes into the third quarter and Port Adelaide’s pressure gauge, according to Champion Data, was 235 – rated ‘elite’ – compared to the Suns’ poor 150.
The Suns finished with a pressure rating of 170, compared to Port’s 185.
“Gold Coast would have got a spray at half-time about their lack of pressure on the opposition consistently in the first half. You think they would’ve come out breathing fire and they’re delivering nothing in this third quarter,” Brownlow Medallist Mark Ricciuto told Fox Footy.
“I don’t know what’s going on.”
The lack of pressure led to a poor result with ball in hand. The Suns had a kicking efficiency of 61 per cent, while the Power kicked 10.4 from turnovers compared to Gold Coast’s 2.6
Speaking at half-time, Johnson said the first half was a “disaster” for the Suns, saying some players were “non-existent”.
Johnson later added: “There’s no drive out of contest. It’s all just ‘get the ball and boot it, kick it as far as we can out of there
“Their ball movement hasn’t been great, their inability to hit a clean target has really dropped away this afternoon as well and the talls just haven’t had an impact whatsoever, even though they’ve had enough chances and looks at the contest.”
The Suns have now dropped below Collingwood on the ladder, sliding to 16th with a 4-9 record and a percentage of 86.3.
“I struggle to contain my frustration doing Gold Coast games,” Brown told Fox Footy post-game,
“I know how much people love their football on the Gold Coast, probably more so than Brisbane at times. There’s a lot of junior football clubs around there, a lot of participation, so there is a want for a successful team there – a competitive team at least – and they will turn up … They’d be quite disappointed with the way things are headed at the moment.
“I don’t want to hear the ‘young’ argument. They were younger when they played Collingwood at the MCG a few weeks ago and had a great win than they were today. So get rid of the young argument.
“There is no excuse for a lack of effort when it comes to these sorts of things – and that lack of effort was on show for far too long in the game as far as I’m concerned.”