VETERAN Gold Coast midfielder Michael Barlow has jumped to the defence of embattled coach Rodney Eade and former skipper Gary Ablett, describing criticism of the pair as "white noise".
Barlow said Saturday's 102-point loss to GWS was embarrassing, but to place the blame squarely on Eade and Ablett was unfair.
Eade is out of contract at season's end and his tenure has been widely questioned following the Suns' 0-2 season start.
Barlow said it was a collective problem that needed a collective solution.
"As a player group we are right behind Rocket," he said.
"Rocket is a strong character, he is a proud Gold Coast Sun. If everyone jumps behind that mindset, we will have a much better output."
Barlow said criticising Ablett's 16-disposal performance was unfair, just seven days after he was runner-up in the Marcus Ashcroft Medal against the Brisbane Lions.
"People are looking for a scapegoat, you really feel for Gary in that respect."
At a joint press conference with Barlow, Suns' co-captain Tom Lynch joined in on the Ablett defence.
"We all know Gary is a very competitive person, and to say he is disinterested is pretty disrespectful toward a champion like Gary," Lynch said.
Barlow, a member of the leadership group, spoke passionately about the players' desire to turn things around.
His voice wavered on occasions, particularly when speaking about the desire shown by David Swallow in his first game back for almost two years.
Barlow said the entire leadership group - led by co-captains Steven May and Lynch – had let themselves down against the Giants, with the exception of Swallow.
"Being out there and part of it, it is embarrassing," Barlow said.
"We had a really good summer and we probably started to believe some of the hype surrounding us."
The Suns host Hawthorn at Metricon Stadium on Sunday afternoon, and Barlow said the fixture would be telling.
"We get to find out who wants to be a Gold Coast Sun," he said.
"We're going to find out a lot about individuals and this team as a collective in the wake of this criticism.
"You probably hear it in our voices at the moment, how much it's burning.
"There's going to be guys that are probably not going to get the opportunity this week on the back of a few bad performances, but the blokes that do, whether they're coming up or having another crack at it, it's going to mean something."