North Melbourne has been dealt another harsh reality check of its predicament after a second-consecutive heavy defeat to start the season, this time at the hands of the Gold Coast Suns.
After a 52-point loss in the opening round, David Noble's side faired little better in Round Two, as the Gold Coast Suns kicked six goals to one in the second quarter before eventually running out 14. 14. (98) to 5. 9. (39) winners at Metricon Stadium.
The popular wooden spoon pick in the lead-up to the season, the Kangaroos' humbling against the Suns served as a reminder of just how treacherous the road ahead could be for the club in what looks to be a lengthy rebuild.
Gold Coast's domination in the second term was so thorough that ex-Hawks forward Ben Dixon said the Suns were "just taking the (Kangaroos) where they want them" on Fox Footy's coverage.
"Both teams want to play with speed, but the Suns did it with more control, more numbers and attacked the corridor – and North Melbourne allowed them to do that and it opened up in the second quarter," he said.
"I'm fearful for David Noble because there's been no defence at all and the Gold Coast Suns, you don't want their confidence up – and they've got it."
Noble's men gave a better account of themselves in the second half, particularly in the third quarter, where they kicked three goals to two before being held goalless in the final term.
"David Noble's at a different place then Stuey Dew," Hawks legend Dermott Brereton told Fox Footy.
"He's still learning about what some of his unknown entities can do in certain positions. He's still learning about what his players are capable of. Until he beds that down, we're going to see a few margins like this.
"But there were moments where you could see with North Melbourne that you were happy with the endeavour. You could see the effort was there."
While there were several bright spots for the Suns, who mustered their highest score since the 2018 season, the night was marred by a pair of serious injuries to Connor Budarick and big man Sam Day.
Both players were left on crutches at the end of the game after suffering knee injuries, with Budarick's injury compared to the ACL injury Lions young gun Cam Rayner suffered in the pre-season.
breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of
Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!