Kade Stevens insists Brock-Burrum can still play finals despite making its worst start to a season for eight years.
Saturday's 72-point humbling at the hands of the previously winless Howlong left the Saints sitting fourth-bottom in the Hume league.
They've played finals 10 years in a row, claiming four flags in that time, although that era of dominance now looks under serious threat.
However, coach Stevens remains bullish and history is on his side. The last time Brock-Burrum started 1-4, in 2013, they went on to be premiers.
"The expectations from outside the group don't mean anything to us but we're aiming to play finals footy," Stevens said.
"We're definitely not writing the year off and calling it a rebuild year.
"It's certainly foreign territory (compared to) the last seven or eight years but at the same time, we're aware that success carrying on from previous years is not just going to be handed to us. The lesson learnt is you've still got to work for it.
"But it's not concerning, it's exciting. It's progressing these kids, getting our experienced players back on the park and still pushing to play finals footy.
"It's an exciting challenge for me. I'm very passionate about footy but also about educating and this is a very coachable group. It's a matter of stripping things back and working on the simple things in footy; game plan structures, starting points, things that 200-plus gamers just know.
"We've got numerous players that have played less than 10 senior games, we had five debutants in round one and for me, as the coach of the club, it's an exciting time."
The Saints were only able to field 10 members of their 2019 grand final side against Howlong, who won convincingly by 17.12 (114) to 5.12 (42).
"They jumped us at one point in the second quarter and we didn't have any answers," Stevens admitted. "Their prime movers out-worked our prime movers, beat them at the ball, they provided more pressure than we did and they were far more accountable than us.
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"We showed a lack of respect for the opposition and let them have a day out with not a lot of pressure. Maybe there was a bit of complacency after a solid win against the Crows.
"I know a lot of the Howlong players personally and I knew we had to be at our best to be competitive but we were a long way from that across the board. Our best players were hard to pick."
Brock-Burrum hosts Culcairn on Saturday, with the Lions one win better off in seventh.
"I'm a realist," Stevens concluded. "We're missing more than 600 games worth of senior experience from this side. We've got some inexperience in there but that doesn't let you off the hook for accountability."
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