False dawn or just a bad run of injuries for QLD AFL?
PLENTY of players would have given the old mirror a good work out over the past couple of weeks, taking a long, hard look at themselves.
And surely members of the two Queensland teams must have broken a few.
How else could you explain the disastrous starts to the season both Brisbane and the Gold Coast have experienced?
Okay, well, lack of commitment to win the footy might be one possibility. Failing to follow coach's instructions another. Players getting ahead of themselves ... poor skills ... lack of leadership ...
But, in a year that was supposed to usher in a new dawn for the Sunshine State, there's been a total eclipse.
The Suns and Lions have lost all four games, lost players to injury, and lost respect.
The injury setback to Gary Ablett is just the tip of the iceberg, with the Suns appearing more like the Titanic - built to last but sinking under the weight of expectation.
To recap, as well as Ablett facing an 'indefinite' stay on the sidelines with that bung shoulder, dashing defender Jarrod Harbrow has been ruled out for a month with his own shoulder injury, while recruit Mitch Hallahan will miss two weeks with bruised ribs. And of course young gun Jaeger O'Meara (knee) isn't expected to play at all this season.
Gold Coast was supposed to possess two of the most damaging weapons off half-back in Nick Malceski and Trent McKenzie.
Malceski is an All-Australian but has been all-at-sea, averaging just 16 touches for the Suns, well down on his 2014 output with Sydney (23), while McKenzie was dropped last week.
Add to that, Tim Sumner pulled the pin on his AFL career and Andrew Boston was stood down from the reserves for not meeting physical requirements.
While Sam Day has been struggling (six marks, two goals in two games), the Suns have missed two of the club's leading goalkickers from 2014, Charlie Dixon (ankle) and Brandon Matera, though the latter is available.
Most damning for the Suns is the fact they struggle to get the footy - they're third-last for total disposals - and struggle to provide pressure - being fourth-last for total tackles.
Up the road, the Lions can fly under the radar a little more due to lower expectations and their own skipper Tom Rockliff (ribs/lung) joining Pearce Hanley (hip) on the sidelines.
The Lions' woes up forward in the post-Jonathan Brown era have been compounded by the absence of Jono Freeman (glute) and now the knee injury to Michael Close, thanks to that dodgy Etihad Stadium surface. Brisbane is third-last for marks inside the forward-50m.
Down back, two-time best-and-fairest Joel Patfull (GWS) has been missed while veteran Daniel Merrett (hamstring) and young Darcy Gardiner (shoulder) have battled injury.
Then there's young James Aish. Being left out of the senior side is not a good sign for the future of the South Australian who is out of contract at season's end.
Yep, for the banana benders, it's all gone pear-shaped very quickly.