HIS TEAM is running on empty, and despite hanging on for a gritty two-point win over Essendon on Saturday night, Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade was not totally satisfied.
Although pleased to notch just the fourth win of the Suns' season, Eade described it as a frustrating performance.
The veteran coach said his team failed to adapt to the greasy conditions, didn't convert their numerous opportunities, and even more damning, suggested they conceded ground mentally before doing so physically.
This came after Eade aired concerns on match-eve that his young and injury-depleted team was running out of legs following last week's second-half capitulation against Richmond.
"We looked heavy-legged," Eade said.
"There's a few individuals that have had big seasons and are starting to struggle to hold it together.
"It was a frustrating night, but effort overall was ok, I'd give it a pass.
"I think some guys got tired in the mind before they got tired in the body."
Gold Coast won the inside 50 count 61-50 but failed to put the game away and had to withstand a late Essendon charge.
Two of their best players, Tom Lynch and Jack Martin, both kicked 3.3 and were guilty of missing set shots.
Martin kicked three behinds and one out on the full in the final quarter alone, to blot an otherwise terrific game.
Goalkicking was just one area Eade said needed attention.
"What was frustrating was that when it became wet, we just didn't stick to the basics, we just didn't adapt and that's education," he said.
"You just can't keep playing the way you're playing, you've got to adapt, either to the opposition or the conditions.
"That's what I was disappointed with, not being able to stick to the basics."
Eade said running defender Adam Saad would be assessed for the extent of his ongoing groin injury through the week after another quiet night.
"Against Port, who can run, and Sydney (Swans), who are a top-four side, it's quite daunting the next two weeks," said the veteran coach.