Fear them, or fold 'em.
That's been the general consensus about the Gold Coast Suns if you trudge through footy forums ever since their inception in 2011.
For some rival fans, there is a lingering bitterness over a raft of high draft picks that the AFL has been handed to the club. It started a decade ago when the Suns received six top 10 draft picks - including the first three.
However, a crop of young talent didn't translate to automatic success, with Gold Coast finishing last in their inaugural season.
The Giants then joined the fray in 2012 and, as both clubs struggled to find on field success, more high draft picks followed.
More pain followed next year for Greater Western Sydney, but they quickly showed signs of improvement. The Giants reached the finals in 2016, 2017 and 2017, culminating in a grand final appearance last year.
Conversely, despite the best efforts of star recruit Gary Ablett (four best and fairest awards, and the 2013 Brownlow Medal), the Suns struggled to rise up the ladder. Their best effort was a 12th place finish in 2014.
And while the Giants played off for the 2019 premiership, fans were vocal about Gold Coast's struggles - with some suggesting that the club should fold.
To many, it felt like the Suns had hit rock bottom.
But, among the many unpredictables in 2020, Gold Coast are no longer the AFL's laughing stock.
The Suns arrived in Wollongong last Sunday. They are now halfway through a two-week stint as part of a wider Sydney hub due to Melbourne's COVID-19 crisis. And with their record standing at 3-2 - and two winnable matches coming up against the Demons and Swans - the newly dubbed "South" Coast Suns could depart the Illawarra in the hunt for that elusive finals appearance.
That thought brings a smile to David Swallow's face as he relaxes on North Wollongong Beach. As the No.1 draft pick in 2010, he has been at the Suns from the very beginning.
A decade later, Swallow is now entrenched in the club. The 27-year-old is the team's co-captain (with Jarrod Witts), is approaching his 150th AFL appearance and has become a vital cog in the Suns' midfield.
And, fueled by the likes of young guns Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, Swallow is excited about Gold Coast's prospects.
"The last few years I suppose we've been building," Swallow told the Mercury.
"We've had guys come and go, and that sort of thing, but I feel like the group at the moment is really connected and we know where we want to go. This year, our language around winning is definitely changing and internal expectations have risen. I think the way we've played the first month since the return has been really encouraging.
"Matt's [Rowell] been the one that gets talked about, but all of our young guys have stood up and have started to play some consistent footy. And even the guys we got last year like Jack Lukosius and Ben King, and hopefully we'll see Izak Rankine back soon. Even some of the less talked about guys like Jack Bowes, whose cemented himself in the back six and is playing really good footy, and Benny Ainsworth as well, who has been around for a few years and is a really important part of our mix."
The man in charge of the ship is Stuart Dew, a cult hero during his playing days who played key roles in premiership wins with Port Adelaide (2004) and Hawthorn (2008).
Swallow believes Dew, who took over as Suns coach in 2018, has played a key role in the club's revival.
"He's really approachable and a pretty calm head," the midfielder said.
"I've just enjoyed his style and I guess his vision for what the club is like. He's got a lot of experience and you put a lot of trust in that. He's experienced in the football world and he's been really good for the football club."
Another man that had a huge impact on Swallow's career is Gary Ablett. He was just 18 when he ran onto the Gabba alongside the "Little Master" for Gold Coast's inaugural AFL game against the Blues on April 2, 2011 (Carlton won by 115 points).
"It was pretty amazing I suppose, it's something I'll look back at the end of my career," Swallow said.
"I was only a small part of his journey but I certainly learned a lot about what he does to day-to-day, and what's he's about as a player and a person. I was just really lucky to play with him."
Swallow quickly found his feet at AFL level. In 2014, he became the first player not named Gary Ablett to win the Suns' best and fairest award.
In 2020, Swallow is one of the Gold Coast's leaders. But, almost ironically, he says there is a similar vibe at the club to their early years.
"We had a lot of young guys coming in and there was a lot of promise, and things just fell away. We had a lot of injuries and stuff like that," Swallow said.
"It does feel like we're getting back to those days with the young guys that are starting to come through and are showing what they're about. It's exciting.
"The club gave me an opportunity when I was 17 or 18. I obviously love the footy club and I love the Gold Coast. I want to be part of some success now with the team."
However, Swallow isn't thinking too far ahead and continues to remain focused on the next challenge.
The Suns have enjoyed their time in the Wollongong sun and will are favourites to beat Melbourne at Giants Stadium on Saturday evening.
But it hasn't all been positive for the Suns this week. Rising Star favourite Matt Rowell was ruled out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, suffered in a heavy tackle by Geelong's Brandan Parfitt last week. While confident about his side, Swallow refuses to underestimate the Demons.
"He's [Rowell] obviously someone who has started awesome for us," he said.
"But we'll just shuffle around a few guys, I'll probably play a bit more through the midfield and we'll probably bring in some guys to fill that void that Matt will leave. As a collective group, we've all got to chip in.
"They've got a pretty young list as well and are really exciting, and they've got a really good midfield so we're expecting a really good battle."