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Suns veteran turns up the heat on players

Michael Rischitelli says it’s up to his teammates to turn things around

GOLD Coast veteran Michael Rischitelli says the onus is on his teammates and not coach Stuart Dew to drive improvement for the struggling Suns.

A loss against Essendon on Saturday night would hand the Suns their 11th straight defeat – the second-most winless stretch in club history behind 21 consecutive losses across their first two seasons.

Rischitelli has been at the club since its AFL inception and says it’s time his teammates stand up.

“What do you do? You keep training and keep applying yourselves,” Rischitelli told AFL.com.au.

“There’s two ways you can go, you can take your foot off the pedal and accept it or you can do something about it, and as a footy club, that’s what we need to keep striving for, to get better and it will turn.

“There’s no real magic fix.

“That’s where we’re going to get our polish, with our training. It’s pretty basic.

“The coach is doing a good job, the players need to take the responsibility now and drive it.”

Rischitelli says he’s seen enough during the losing streak to encourage him that the Suns still have a bright future.

They bombed a big fourth-quarter lead against St Kilda, were competitive against Collingwood for large stretches and had patches of dominance against North Melbourne last Sunday.

“We can’t produce it for four quarters though,” he said.

“We really do shoot ourselves in the foot sometimes with turnovers and picking the wrong play at the wrong time.

“I think Stuey’s made everyone understand what it takes with his game plan.

“The game plan’s there, we’re just not taking full advantage of it, we’re just second-guessing a bit and not sticking to basics, not doing it for long enough.

“Things take time and some players like myself don’t have time. We need to keep working hard at it.”

Rischitelli, 32, is out of contract at season’s end.

The former Brisbane midfielder has been playing defence for the entire season, helping to offer a steady hand in the absence of injured Pearce Hanley.

Source: AFL FOOTBALL NEWS