AFTER another emphatic performance against GWS on Saturday, Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna believes a jump to the next level is not far away for his young team.
McKenna was thrilled with the Suns' effort in the 40-point win, but said converting that endeavour into better execution was still some way off.
Gold Coast is now ensconced in the top eight with a 4-2 record and will get a thorough examination of its finals credentials against North Melbourne next Sunday.
They prepared strongly by beating the combative Giants in all the key statistics – clearances (44-36), contested possessions (163-131) and tackles (69-58).
But McKenna said to challenge the best, the Suns would have to be cleaner with the ball.
"I think we're working hard enough," he said.
"Our contested numbers are fairly high, but for a club that has been running around for not even four years … belting in, wearing some hits, and by the time we get out we're a bit leg weary and can't have that connection between the lines. I don't think it's too far away.
"You train for skill execution, it hasn't happened.
"The good thing is the effort's there, we're competing hard, and that polish will come."
McKenna said his "scary" midfield of captain Gary Ablett, David Swallow, Jaeger O'Meara and Dion Prestia – who totalled 118 touches against the Giants – would still improve.
Former No.2 draft pick Harley Bennell is a likely addition to that midfield mix against the Kangaroos after 24 disposals and three goals in the reserves.
Bennell has been plagued by a calf injury since the pre-season, but shone in his first match back.
McKenna said his young group was still learning how to capitalise on the dominance it could establish in the midfield.
"I think we all understand they're a talented bunch that read the play well, but there's an art of reading the game and that's the hard thing," he said.
"That takes five, six, seven years to get. Invariably it's going to take time … but at least they're delivering on effort.
"It's a work in progress, it always is until you win a premiership."Twitter: @AFL_mikewhiting