GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 09: Noah Anderson of the Suns celebrates kicking a goal during the round 17 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Richmond Tigers at Metricon Stadium on July 09, 2022 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

It's time for the Gold Coast Suns to break the cycle.

How many times have the perennially underachieving expansion club found themselves in this situation?

After producing a performance that seemingly looks as though it will usher in a new chapter of success and consistency in the Suns' history, they invariably back it up with a lame showing.

Time and time again Gold Coast prove that their promising victories are nothing more than teases as they revert to type and fall back in line with the mediocrity that has come to define their 13-year existence.

Since entering the AFL in 2011, they've never made the finals and have won just 70 of 262 games at a woeful success rate of 27 per cent.

Last year served up the freshest, and perhaps most glaring, examples of their inability to capitalise on meaningful gains.

On the plus side, they won a club record 10 games, but if one adopts the glass-half-empty approach, then the Suns really should've made the finals in 2022 if they were a fair dinkum team.

They kicked off the year with their first-ever win over West Coast in Perth (granted, the Eagles rivalled Fitzroy in their dying days for ineptitude last season), before losing their next two games.

Then they defeated Carlton before losing their next three games.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 24: Kai Lohmann of the Lions carries the ball during the 2022 AFL Round 06 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium on April 24, 2022 in the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Russell Freeman/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Things were looking very positive for them when they won five of their next six games, including victories over eventual finallists Sydney (at the SCG) and Fremantle, to improve their record to 7-6.

A win over another top-eight team in Richmond squared their ledger at 8-8, but true to form they backed that up with a bitterly disappointing eight-goal loss to Essendon the following week, and could only manage two more wins for the year, with a loss to Hawthorn in Round 21 the coup de grace.

In 2021, road victories against Richmond, Collingwood and Carlton, as well as wins against Sydney, GWS and Hawthorn, all looked like they had the potential to be coming-of-age moments for the Suns. But, as always, they proved to be mirages.

Sadly for Gold Coast, this isn't an unfamiliar story. They started the year 3-1 in 2019 and 2020, 3-2 in 2018 and 3-0 in 2016, before crashing and burning in spectacular fashion each time.

And, of course, who could forget their 7-2 start to 2014 before Gary Ablett's shoulder injury derailed what looked like a certain maiden finals appearance?

Well, after impressively taking care of reigning premier Geelong last week, the Suns are experiencing their own version of Groundhog Day.

Here they are again at a familiar crossroads, seemingly on the precipice of being taken seriously as a force to be reckoned with.

But do they want to continue being Bill Murray, content with one-off flash-in-the-pan efforts? Or are they serious about writing a new and exciting chapter for a club which has largely been a laughing stock since being established?

We're going to find out on Saturday night because against St Kilda at Marvel Stadium, the Suns actually have no excuses but to come away with the four premiership points.

The Saints have been magnificent in the first three rounds, sitting on top of the ladder on the back of a 3-0 start, but their injury list continues to lengthen, and as counterintuitive as it might sound for a team that has been so impressive under returning coach Ross Lyon, they are actually ripe for the picking.

They head into this intriguing encounter without Jack Steele (collarbone), Max King (shoulder), Tim Membrey (knee), Nick Coffield (calf), Zak Jones (Achilles), Jack Billings (leg), Jimmy Webster (cheekbone), Dan McKenzie (calf) and Jack Hayes (foot).

Meanwhile, Mason Wood (shoulder) has been named but has been under a cloud all week.

They've covered their injuries tremendously, but how long can they keep doing it for?

Conversely, the Suns have practically a clean bill of health and actually have a decent recent record at the Docklands venue, winning three of their last eight there, after only managing five victories from their first 23 at the ground.

So will Gold Coast win a game that they should legitimately be backing themselves to win? Or will they file this one in their ever-growing ‘too hard' basket, like they did with a similar match against Essendon a fortnight ago?

At about 10pm on Saturday, we'll get a very good idea about what kind of team Stuart Dew is building in his sixth season as coach.