The Canberra Demons are in urgent need of some home truths to ignite their season because "we just don't have that fight" when the going gets tough.
So says coach Kade Klemke after the Demons slumped to a 10-goal defeat at the hands of the Southport Sharks in the NEAFL at Fankhauser Reserve on Saturday.
Canberra had next to no answer for a Sharks onslaught as the reigning premiers ran amok in the second half to secure a 16.8 (104) to 6.8 (44) triumph.
The visitors trailed by just eight points at the main break and, truth be told, were frustrated because they thought they'd done enough to be in front.
But the tide turned in the third quarter - Canberra were kept scoreless as Southport kicked 53 points clear.
The Demons managed just one goal and six behinds in the second half while the Sharks piled on 64 points to coast to victory.
"Unfortunately for us, we just couldn't find a way to fight it out and take control, which has been the story for us," Klemke said.
"Often when things aren't going our way we tend to start playing our own game, whereas if we've got a team mindset and we're being stronger on each other, we will help each other out.
"We're probably too easy on each other. Our boys need to demand a bit more from each other when things aren't going our way. When things are going good, we're up, but when things aren't, we just don't have that fight.
"That's something we need to continue to get better at. We've been talking about it, we've been open and honest with each other.
"For us, going into the bye, hopefully we can just fix that five or 10 per cent, the little things, they'll take care of the big things."
Angus Baker was among Canberra's best with 30 disposals and one goal while Mitch Maguire (29 disposals) provided plenty of effort through the middle.
But it came to no avail against a rampaging Southport outfit that made the most of their scoring opportunities in the second half and didn't look back.
The looming bye has come at the perfect time for a Demons outfit looking to rediscover their spark against the competition's benchmark teams.
Klemke is eyeing a return from a knee injury in the coming weeks while Andrew Swan is on the cusp of completing a comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Swan is on track to return after this week's bye but may come back through the AFL Canberra competition before suiting up for the Demons again.
AT A GLANCE
NEAFL round 10
SOUTHPORT 2.3 6.4 13.7 16.8 (104)
CANBERRA 1.1 5.2 5.2 6.8 (44)
Goals: Southport: J Turner 3, T Fields 2, J Hall 2, E Reeves, T Stubbs, C Ford, A Boston, T Bowie, R Clark, R Clements, L Dale, D Fyfe. Canberra: A Baker, R Corbett, C Owen-Auburn, R Pollock, J Powell, G Richardson
Best: Southport: S Tape, T Fields, D Fyfe, R Davis, T Roos, J Turner. Canberra: M Maguire, A Baker, L Meline, R Budd, J Powell, J Osborne