Suns learning to stay in fight for longer
JARROD Witts says staying in the fight was Gold Coast's focus ahead of Sunday's clash with the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are back to their snarling best and their undefeated start to the season has come off the back of a renewed ferocity in the contest.
The return of Tom Liberatore has bolstered the Bulldogs midfield and Witts says there is no doubt that is where Sunday's match at Marvel Stadium will be won and lost.
But he says taking the fight up to the Dogs is not his young side's greatest challenge, it is how long they can stay in it.
He has no doubts Gold Coast's young midfield can win their share of contests but history shows him the Suns have a poor record of lapses within games.
The Suns have made an encouraging start to the season and the feature has been the consistency of their effort.
There were momentum swings in the loss to St Kilda in Round 1 and the victory over Fremantle at Metricon Stadium last week, but the effort never waned which ensured even when the game was going against them their opponents were unable to score too heavily.
"We have been pretty consistent over the last few weeks but as you have seen in the past we have had a habit of dropping off in games,'' he said.
"For us maintaining our consistency is everything.
"I reckon it will be really important in the contest against the Dogs, that's where it will be won and lost, and we have to stick to it, making sure we are getting pressure on the ball but also covering their outlets.
"That's where we suffer during our lapses, the contested ball, so we have to work hard to ensure it doesn't happen.''
The newly-appointed skipper said it was the responsibility of he and fellow captain David Swallow as well as the other senior players to remain alert to the status of the game and also the effort of their own side.
The reductions on runners and the fact it can be hard to make interchanges in fast flowing games at Marvel Stadium mean now more than ever before the senior players have to act as on-field coaches.
"It is noticing when it drops off in games and doing something about it,'' he said.
"You go through moments when you have lapses, very rarely do you play well for four quarters and for us as leaders it is our job to observe that and take the responsibility to understand the state of the game and what is needed at that period.''