Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade says his young group is quickly learning going from AFL finals pretenders to contenders isn’t as smooth as they may have thought.
The Suns had their first real crack at making the finals in 2014 before a second-half of the season fadeout ended in a 12th place finish.
That finish was still the best in the club’s four-season history but Eade says it shows cracking the top eight will be a lot tougher than rising through the bottom-half of the ladder.
“It’s like the tennis rankings. It’s easier to go from 150 to 50 than it is from 20 to 10 and from 10 to 5,” Eade told AAP.
“It’s just tougher once you get to the pointy end.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. People don’t realise it’s just not a natural evolution that the next step is we’ll just make finals.
“We’re a bit behind in quite a few areas and we need to nail them down before we take a step forward.”
Despite the admission the club still has work to do, Eade says an inaugural finals appearance has to be the goal in 2015.
Suns’ president John Witheriff’s 2012 claim that the club would win the premiership by the end of 2015 may seem far-fetched but Eade has no problem with aiming high.
“The expectations from within, from us, and the aims, are to make finals,” he said.
“14-16 teams are going to have the same. That’s the way it should be.
“There’s eight teams who made the finals last year who are not going to let it slip easy and there’s probably another six who didn’t make it, including us, who want to get there.
“If you don’t aim there you’re never going to get it.”