The West

Gold Coast counting down the games
Gold Coast Suns midfielder Harley Bennell. Picture: Astrid Volzke / The West Australian.

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna has urged critics to save their judgements of his young side until a majority of the players have reached at least the 60-game mark.

The Suns trained at the WACA Ground this morning ahead of tomorrow’s daunting clash against top-four side West Coast at Patersons Stadium.

The fledgling AFL club are winless this season and bottom of the ladder, with bookmakers predicting a whitewash this weekend in the order of 80 points.

McKenna said he needed to wind his players up to guarantee an arm wrestle early against the Eagles.

He said he was not surprised by West Coast’s barnstorming run at home which stands at 17 consecutive wins.

“I think the group now, I look at someone like Scotty Selwood that’s now played 80-odd games and his development,” McKenna said.

“Would I love Harley Bennell to play 80 games? Zac Smith, 80 games? Trent McKenzie, 80 games?

“I just can’t wait for our group to get probably 50 games together, but some of our individuals to play that 60-70 games, then judge us then.

“I think the expectations from year one to year two have been based on sides that have been around for hundreds of years. We’ve been around 30 to 35 games.

“It’s important that we just settle down and be patient, but making sure then when we do go out there it’s about earning respect in the AFL and that’s competing and competing hard. That’s all I look for.”

McKenna stressed the club had improved defensively in conceding 100 less points than at the same time in a debut season where they finished with three wins.

“We’re happy, if you like, to be where we are,” McKenna said.

“We’d certainly be a lot happier if we were 2-300 points better off that’s for sure.”

The West Australian

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