Season 2018 - Gold Coast

Damning document reveals critical shortfalls at Gold Coast as far back as 2012

JAY CLARK, Herald Sun
August 8, 2018 9:40am

GOLD Coast Suns documented critical shortfalls in its medical and conditioning departments which helped spark a crippling player exodus.

The Herald Sun can reveal former football manager Marcus Ashcroft sounded the alarm about glaring off-field deficiencies to the Suns board in 2012, as the struggling Suns lost their first 14 games in their second AFL season.

Poor training facilities and under-resourced off-field services have been blamed as key reasons for a string of player departures, leaving the AFL’s $200 million gamble at rock bottom in its eighth season

Suns fans struggled through 2012 and things haven’t been much brighter since.

A review of the Suns’ 2012 medical and conditioning departments showed the club had spent $750,000 on staff, almost $400,000 less than the club average.

Carlton ($1.4 million) and Collingwood ($1.2m) topped the league spend, according to the Gold Coast report.

Ashcroft said in a damning club assessment the Suns were under-resourced in the “critical” high performance area, jeopardising the players’ on-field development and retention strategy.

“The conditioning/medical review process has been thorough, confirming a gap in expertise in one of the most critical positions in our football department,” Ashcroft wrote.

The Suns have failed to play finals in eight campaigns and will call on the AFL to provide emergency assistance including a priority draft pick at season’s end.

A host of stars have left, including Jaeger O’Meara (Hawthorn), Charlie Dixon (Port Adelaide), Dion Prestia (Richmond), Harley Bennell (Fremantle), Adam Saad (Essendon) and former captains Gary Ablett (Geelong) and 2018 free agent Tom Lynch.

Ashcroft, who moved into the AFL’s football operations department this year, urged the board to provide funding for a high performance manager with at least seven years AFL experience ahead of the Suns’ third AFL season.

Gold Coast replaced respected fitness guru Andrew Weller, who is now physical performance manager at Cricket Australia, with Adelaide Crows’ high performance manager Steven Schwerdt for 2013.

“I recommend the board acknowledge the deficiencies identified in our conditioning/medical department,” Ashcroft said.

“It is my intention to proceed with securing as a priority a High Performance Manager that satisfies the criteria required in delivering an elite training program to our playing group.

“On the approval of additional funds that I proceed to recruit additional highly credentials doctors and physiotherapists to support our medical program.”

Ashcroft said a lack of proper off-field resources would jeopardise players’ on-field progress and the Suns’ retention strategy.

“The risk of not proceeding to secure our resourcing needs is a stagnation of player’s (sic) on-field development, on-field performance and player retention,” Ashcroft said.

The Suns had allocated $330,000 for medical staff, including two doctors (cost $120,000) and three physiotherapists ($210,000).

The Suns report showed Collingwood spent double on medical staff ($650,000) after back-to-back Grand Final appearances in 2010-11.

The Suns tried to poach ex-Collingwood premiership fitness boss David Buttifant but were knocked back, along with Richmond’s Neil Balme, Geelong’s Simon Lloyd and Tigers’ list architect Blair Hartley.

The shambolic training facilities included a sweltering tin-shed gym and an “uneven” and “rock-hard” back training oval behind Metricon Stadium.

The under-resourced off-field areas were at odds with the league’s vow to deliver the Suns’ top-class facilities to help nurture the AFL’s best young talent after a bumper 2010 national draft.

Can add Weapon/Dank & the poorly thought out list build strategy to the mix as well.



After O’Meara raving about Hawks “fitness & Conditioning / medical staff” I wouldnt be surprised if Lynch is headed to Hawthorn.
They have the cash with Rioli gone
They would even trade Roughy for a third round pick once the move has been made.


Add the Gold Coast Rollers and the wonderfully managed Clive Palmer’s Gold Coast A-League side to the graveyard of Gold Coast sporting franchises.
While I don’t buy into the whole ‘not in AFL state/no public pressure on players to perform’ (wasn’t that one of Rocket’s excuses?) the Gold Coast may be better off left alone. As Billy Slater has just reminded everybody a professionally run club (ignore salary cap abuses - that was ex-StKilda moron anyway) with a great coach can be successful. Queenslanders Smith, Cronk and Slater were more than happy play down in non-NRL territory.
The big difference is perhaps Melburnians are a passionate sporting town. Gold Coast is not. Junking the Gold Coast May be best in the long run but that is a lot of money and resources spent for nothing. Metricon is a prick to get to but a good stadium to watch footy from. Especially when Bombers are up here. I just realized - if Gold Coast goes that is less Essendon games up here…go the Suns!


Yeah so we got done for that while the AFL quietly hid what was going on at the Suns. Such a classy organisation and don’t tell me the media (including SWSNBN) didn’t know this while they railed at Essendon.


Question is, why has the AFL published this story? Or allowed it to be published?

Seems to me they are paving the way to give them more concessions


Panel getting stuck right into him


Mate since I discovered Boowaggan Road Park and Ride Metricon has become a dream. Parked there, straight onto a bus and into the stadium. When we got out it was the same, walk past the thousands lining up for a bus to Nerang (I see there is also a footpath so you can walk now too) and straight onto a bus. When you leave the carpark, there is traffic control to get you back onto the road.

As for the Suns, Dew needs to be given some time to turn them around, there have been a lot of mistakes made but it has been proven that a good coach can turn things around. GWS are probably the exception rather than the rule as to how new clubs perform upon entering the league. Port nearly folded in an AFL state.


Worst list in the comp and they are in salary cap trouble lol.
Atleast Fark Carlton have a couple of guns to look forward to




and they got pushed off from their ground due to the Commonwealth Games. Not much support from the AFL and others.


GC had the worst draw of any team in any season. They would have clocked up frequent flyer points by the truck load, but pity any one with a season ticket trying to watch them over the first half of the season.


Suns are in for a world of hurt: Lynch GONE May GONE Martin GONE Hall GONE and a handful of others like Lyons, Scrimshaw, Brodie and Nicholls could all be on the way out. If the Suns don’t nail their draft picks and recruitment this off season they’ll be going the way of the Bears.

In my opinion, they should be looking to turn May into a top 5 pick (AFL will certainly help). They’ll then have picks 2,3 and 4/5 which they should turn into King Twins and Bailey Smith which replaces their CHB and CHF and gives them a long term midfielder with a professional attitude. I’d use their mature-age PP on Sam Collins, slipping into May’s spot and Grigg to give them some experienced in the middle.

Most importantly they need to address their cultural issues, losing both captains may actually allow them to start afresh the obvious candidates are Touk Miller and Weller. They need to be targeting players who can commit to rebuilding and staying long term, both through trades and the draft, guys like Dea who are cheap and will contribute on and off field should be a priority. They’ve done reasonably well in the last few years bringing in guys like Weller, Young, Witts, Hanley (unlucky with injuries) and even Lyons despite not playing him.

This team wouldn’t be the worst, and they’d still have a lot of picks outside of the top 10 that should add to it.

Harbrow — Thompson — B.King*
Kolodjasnij — Collins* — Hanley — Dea*

Witts — Weller — Swallow — Bowes
Fiorini — Grigg* — Miller — Smith*

Ah Chee — Day — Ainsworth — Lemmens
M.King* — Wright — Young


But Fitzroy has already merged, and I’m sure the Gabba does not have room for 2 AFL teams…

I wonder if getting rid of the blokes who are suffering from non success fatigue and bringing in new talant along with some older heads that know how to train at the elite level might actually help them get Dews message across and improve quicker.


rename them to Southport Saints.
merge with StKilda.

cultural fit.


Change the name to Tassie Suns now


AFL: ‘What you need is more mature players, good honest ball-winning battlers, clearance players, that will help your kids as they mature.’
Gold Coast: Delists Lyons.


Would totally draft Lyons


To be fair to Dew, he is trying to instill a culture that will adhere to his style and structures and listen to team orders. Both the Crows and Suns have turfed him for the same reason


The phrase “Cutting off your nose to spite the face” comes to mind


But without being in the Suns internal circle who knows. Maybe Dew has given him so many chances and he keeps ignoring him. Sooner or later the coach has to make a stand. As I said the Crows put him in the too hard basket aswell.