POOR player development in Gold Coast's initial years is behind the team's failure to make the finals after six AFL seasons, says skipper Gary Ablett.
Ablett, who will miss the rest of the season after a serious shoulder injury, said the club was paying for errors made when the Suns joined the league in 2011.
"I feel early days we probably developed the boys the wrong way in terms of what we were teaching them on the training track and on the footy field," he told Channel 9.
"If you look at all the good sides (like) Hawthorn, Geelong – the teams that had success over a long period of time – they do the basics of football well, and I don't think we were training the right drills early days.
"I think we probably thought with games and experience it was just going to happen, and we didn't spend enough time on the training track training the basics of football."
"I think 'Rocket' (coach Rodney Eade) has been great since he's got to the club. He's implemented the right drills for training, but we're probably just a little bit behind in our development."
Ablett, 32, also said he considered retirement following his shoulder reconstruction in 2014.
He is now preparing to undergo a second surgery on the same left shoulder after injuring it earlier this month.
"I think obviously when I went through the first shoulder injury it crossed my mind at the time," Ablett said.
"I was 31 at the time, I'd been playing for 14, 15 years and I was asking myself the question, 'Why am I still doing this?'"
Ablett signed a three-year contract extension last season that ties him to the Suns until the end of 2018.