Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna wants his young Suns to start acting like men. Still smarting from the 69-point season-opening loss to Adelaide, McKenna sounded like a frustrated dad on Wednesday as he wondered aloud when his band of youngsters would come of age.
“We are going through growing pains,” he said.
“In most cases they look like men but our greatest challenge is to get them to think like men.
“I can’t keep making excuses for the boys being so young and being overawed.
“Last year we had a lot of firsts, but we’ve done all that. We should not be feeling shocked standing alongside these opponents.”
McKenna will be hoping his side matures sooner rather than later as he vies for a contract extension.
Mick Malthouse this week called for the Suns board to re-sign his former West Coast and Collingwood charge after recent speculation that McKenna needed to clinch at least six wins to earn a new contract.
It wasn’t just their on-field behaviour that had McKenna sounding like a cranky parent ahead of Sunday’s AFL clash with St Kilda.
McKenna seemed less than impressed with Suns charge Trent McKenzie tweeting his support for Geelong’s Matthew Scarlett punching niggling Fremantle Docker Hayden Ballantyne.
AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou has ruled out taking action against McKenzie and Port Adelaide defender Alipate Carlile who also backed Scarlett’s punch – but McKenna didn’t sound so forgiving.
“I haven’t caught up with Trent but I have my thoughts on that,” he said.
“You just open up a door, what goes around comes around.
“If you put yourself out there like that, brace yourself.”
McKenna said his side would need to step up against the Saints after their round-one thrashing at the hands of pre-season champions Adelaide.
“They are probably not in the same form as Adelaide but they are still a good test for us,” McKenna said of St Kilda, who lost their opening clash to Port Adelaide by four points.
“We were disappointed with the result against Adelaide but they (St Kilda) are probably an older and wiser Adelaide.
“It’s going to be a good test to see how the boys bounce back from that first game.”
One player who has shown the toughness McKenna demands won’t be available against the Saints.
Youngster Seb Tape looks set to miss the clash after losing three teeth in the round-one clash.
Tape, 19, opted to play on for almost a quarter of football before being substituted and taken to hospital as a trainer looked for his missing teeth on the field.
“It was typical of him staying out (on the field),” McKenna said.
“Dental surgeons are saying three weeks. Seb would be filthy because he expects to play this week.
“We are hoping it is just a week because he is a terrific competitor and we love him in our side.”