Brisbane vice-captain Harris Andrews expects Gold Coast to be "united and galvanised" against the Lions on Saturday after another difficult week for the Suns.
Gold Coast was rocked on Thursday when news broke teenage forward Brayden Crossley was provisionally suspended for testing positive to a banned substance.
That news comes as the Suns are mired in a 15-game losing streak and all-but assured of claiming the wooden spoon.
Andrews remains wary of his Queensland rivals though, saying the tough times could bring Gold Coast closer together.
"I haven't experienced anything like that in my time in footy, but I'm sure it probably galvanises them if anything," he said.
"Things like that, even a change of coach for teams this year, they've been able to come out and perform really well.
"They'll be extremely united as they have been throughout the season."
Brisbane is currently locked in a three-way battle for top spot with Geelong and West Coast, trailing only by percentage, but Andrews said there was no thought of complacency ahead of Saturday's QClash.
The 22-year-old said coach Chris Fagan and veteran Luke Hodge had been adamant about enforcing the one-week-at-a-time philosophy.
"When we are getting ahead of ourselves, they knock us down a peg pretty quickly.
"We've got a good understanding by round 21 of what we need to do each week to perform well."