Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew has blasted his side for “living in the land of hope” after looking for the easy option in a 49-point thumping to begin their AFL season.
Seeking a maiden finals appearance after a club-best 10-win campaign in 2022, Dew’s side were humbled on a humid night by last year’s beaten grand finalists Sydney.
Five unanswered goals effectively killed the contest in the first quarter, the Swans prevailing 16.14 (110) to 9.7 (60) at Heritage Bank Stadium in Carrara.
“We lived in a bit of a land of hope and thought, ‘Maybe it might go over the back, out wide to me’,” Dew lamented.
“Against good teams that’s not going to happen; we needed to get our hands dirty and we didn’t at all.”
Eleven of the Swans’ 16 goals – shared by 12 different players – came from turnovers.
Dew said across the park it was work rate and defensive pressure that let his side down.
“We expected more across the whole day; weren’t able to sustain a style of play we were after for more than 10 minutes,” the coach said.
“There will be some good vision to come out of that.
“Play the game on its merits and not live in the land of hope that it might come out. There’s no easy ball, particularly … in those conditions.”
Ben King didn’t get a kick in his comeback game until the third term, but it was long and straight and sailed through for a goal.
He also put his body on the line to create a goal for small forward Ben Ainsworth.
“He kept going; we weren’t expecting a best-on-ground performance …. but it wouldn’t surprise if he has a really good game next week either.
“He’ll keep fronting up; it wasn’t his night tonight, but it wasn’t really anyone’s night tonight.”