Gold Coast has not won a game without captain Gary Ablett in its short history, but is confident of breaking the duck against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday.
The SUNS are 0-6 when Ablett hasn't played, but vice-captain Tom Lynch says they are a more mature outfit now, and better equipped to handle the absence of their star skipper.
Gold Coast's 28-point loss against the Western Bulldogs prior to last week's bye was the first time it'd lost without Ablett when it was expected to win.
And Lynch says they've learnt their lesson.cheap Predator LZ
With their finals prospects in the balance, and Ablett missing the remainder of the season following shoulder surgery, the straight-talking forward said it was time for his young teammates to stand up.cheap HyperVenom Phantom
"I think we're a different side to when he's missed previously," Lynch said.
"I think we've improved a lot and can cover him a lot better this time around.
"You learn every game. It was more about us not playing too well up there (in Cairns against the Bulldogs). Gaz not being there didn't make too much of a difference.
"We obviously learnt a bit from that and we're looking forward to this week and getting back on the right path."
Lynch's forward-line partner Charlie Dixon said the SUNS had already proved to themselves they could win without the dual Brownlow medallist.
"Gary's one of those players that can turn a game on its headx by himself, but we showed in that last half against Collingwood we could hold on and beat the Pies," Dixon said.
"He's a very valuable player for us, but I think we've got enough (good) players to win."
With Ablett's absence, the SUNS are rotating the captaincy among their vice-captains, with energetic midfielder Dion Prestia taking the reigns for the QClash.
"We've got to fill that void that Gary's left, he's the captain of our footy club," Lynch said.
"He's done a great job over the last three or four years, but we've definitely improved this year with other guys stepping up into that leadership void compared to a year or two ago. We'll be ok this week."