A ruthless review was needed at the GIANTS after an insipid performance against Fremantle, with second-year skipper Stephen Coniglio leading many of the challenging conversations.
The GIANTS were expecting to kickstart their season against an injury-plagued Fremantle, after a frustrating eight-point loss to St Kilda in round one.
Instead, a lacklustre display allowed the Dockers to win the contested ball count 145 to 113 and dominate much of the match.
The GIANTS' four last-quarter goals made the final margin of 31 points better than it had seemed in general play. But the club didn't allow it to paper over the cracks.
"It has definitely been a challenging week," Phil Davis told AFL.com.au.
"We pride ourselves on our contested ball. We got that horribly wrong.
"It's probably the one part of the game that in review hurts the most. People can live with missing a kick… those sort of skill errors.
"I've got no doubt all my teammates tried really hard, but unfortunately for a multitude of reasons we were poor at contested ball, which got shown up in the review."
The GIANTS players took this loss and their disappointing display particularly hard.
But captain Stephen Coniglio and the leadership group saved a ruthless review until the team arrived back in Sydney.
"[As a captain] your first port of call is to be there on a personal level," Davis said.
"You look at what Stephen and the leadership group do… it has been about supporting each other, and then having good quality, challenging conversations."
Coniglio suffered a tumultuous first season as skipper, with the team unable to find the form that took them to the 2019 Grand Final. His own on-field struggles even led to the GIANTS' captain being dropped.
Davis is confident Coniglio can return to being one of the better midfielders in the competition, and that he will become a fine leader.
"He's putting a lot of time into his own leadership skills and that side of his development," Davis said.
"I've seen really good growth, and I think he'll still continue to grow."
Davis was co-captain of the GIANTS with Callan Ward from 2012 to 2019, but moved out of a formal leadership role when they handed over the captaincy to Coniglio.
The 30-year-old Davis remains a key influence around the club and has now returned to the leadership group.
"Over the course of the pre-season, Leon made it pretty clear that he wanted me back in there," he said.
"I probably took a step back last year just to give everyone some space, to make sure they could put their stamp on the group.
"I've come back in there and my job is to support, ask questions, probe, and hopefully push people in the right direction."
Davis also threw his support behind coach Leon Cameron and his long-term future at the underperforming GIANTS.
"We fundamentally believe in what Leon has got to say. We trust him," the key defender said.
"The coaches take an unfair brunt of everything. The blame should be spread far more evenly.
"Yet it seems like it's a pretty easy shot at the coach, in particular our coach."