- from afl.com.au
GOLD Coast is "a couple of years away" from making its maiden finals appearance, according to Suns coach Rodney Eade.
The Suns, who finished 12th last year, were outclassed in their season-opening clash against Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday, losing by 26 points.
Gold Coast has been tipped as a potential finalist in 2015, the club's fifth season in the AFL.
Eade said his side was some time away from becoming genuine finals contenders.
"I still think (we're) a couple of years away, at least," Eade told Channel Seven on Sunday.
"Sometimes the words potential and talent are very dangerous and players sometimes – and I don't know that as the fact yet, but only time will tell whether our group think that – [think] that actually talent will take them a fair way.
"We've got to be consistent with our effort and we know that any team can beat another team on any particular day if the effort outweighs the opposition and you're not just going to win on talent alone."
In order to become a consistent side, Eade said his team must shift away from its dependence on Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett.
"On the back of yesterday, maybe there's an overreliance on Gary. I think we have to go past that, we still have him as a great player but we need to stand up," he said.
Despite registering consecutive goals in the final term to keep his side in the contest, Ablett later dropped a crucial uncontested handball receive in front of goal with the Suns 21 points down.
At his post-match media conference, Eade said the star midfielder "had a bad day" after being restricted to 19 touches against his opponent Jack Viney.