GOLD Coast Suns superstar Gary Ablett fully expected to cop plenty of flak following his off-season request to be traded back to Geelong.
What the dual Brownlow Medallist and foundation Suns captain did not expect was the sudden loss of form by the Suns to start the new AFL season.
Speaking on GOLD FM on Thursday morning the midfielder insisted he is 100% genuine in helping the Suns get back on track, starting on Sunday when they host Hawthorn at Metricon Stadium.
"I kind of expected it (the speculation surrounding his future) leading into the season after everything that happened in the off-season, with me asking for a trade," Ablett said.
"I think everyone knows my reasons why I had that conversation but at the same time I'm fully committed to the Suns - and I told them that.
"Now I'm looking forward to getting into the game this week and I'm confident we will put in a better performance than in the first two rounds."
Ablett was roundly criticised for a flat effort last weekend against the GWS Giants, but he was not alone in that regard.
He was just one of a number of Suns who at times appeared to be going through the motions.
And that has to stop, Ablett said.
"I'm looking forward to getting into the game this week and I'm confident we will put in a better performance than the first two rounds," he said.
"Obviously it has been a disappointing start to the season for the Suns.
"I think we just need to get back to playing good football. We believe in our brand of football.
"It was a terrible start in round one (against Brisbane) but we got ourselves back into the game yet didn't get the win.
"Then the performance on the weekend (against GWS) just wasn't good enough.
"To lose by 100 points? We need to bounce back and put in good performances."
Ablett is convinced that a drop in confidence is a major factor in the Suns' blues.
"It's mental, without a doubt," he said.
"We believe in our brand of football. I think 'Rocket' (coach Rodney Eade) has done a great job in implementing the right drills at training.
"It wasn't that long ago in the pre-season games we were playing some really good football, moving the ball well.
"I think confidence within a group is a big thing.
"We didn't start well against Brisbane and you could see the boys' heads drop after that. We did a great job in getting back in the game but we didn't get the win.
"Then obviously on the weekend, taking nothing away from GWS, they're a very good side, but we can't be losing games by 100 points.
"We need to be competitive and give ourselves the opportunity of winning games."