Coach – Damien Hardwick
Points For – 13th
Points Against – 14th
Top 5 Best and Fairest
- Noah Anderson
- Sam Collins
- Matt Rowell
- Charlie Ballard
- Jarrod Witts
2023 Rising Star Noms
Bailey Humphrey (Rnd 9)
Mac Andrew (Rnd 20)
Ins – Sam Clohesy, Will Graham, Jack Mahoney, Ethan Read, Jake Rogers, Will Rowlands, Jed Walter
Outs – Jed Anderson, Connor Blakely, Chris Burgess, Mabior Chol, Charlie Constable, Elijah Hollands, Brodie Mclaughlin, Jeremy Sharp, Jake Stein
Another year in the competition for the team no one cares about. They have chased relevancy forever and try again this year but recruiting in a coach who only months earlier was so burnt out that he couldn’t even finish the season. The issues at the Suns don’t seem to be the list, they have spent their time building an incredibly poor culture in an amazingly short time frame. If you consistently tried to sabotage yourself from achieving success you wouldn’t be able to do as good a job as the AFL has done with their bastard child.
The backline underperformed last year when you look at Collins who is a very good fullback. Ballard had a good season and Powell turned up. Mac Andrew gives them something different and then you have Budarick, Jeffrey and MacPherson delivering from half back. They have the pieces there and you would think with better structure and understanding of what is expected they will be ok.
The midfield has elite top end talent. Anderson and Rowell finally found their footing. Miller, Ellis and Swallow round out a good starting midfield. Humphrey looks a beast who will spend more time in the guts and Flanders finally found his AFL feet last season. They don’t bat deep in the midfield which will be a concern.
The forward line is just ok. Ben King is playing his final season in the red and yellow before moving home so they will be looking to capitalise on his farewell. They have of course a couple of academy kids to step up but next year, it doesn’t look like a side that is ready to kick winning scores on a regular basis. Ainsworth will benefit from better structure and has the talent. Lukosius will look like a world beater one minute and an EDFL player the next.
The coach has done it all (literally). He will bring with him some sort of gravitas though and will be able to buy the time necessary to get things right at the Suns. It isn’t as simple as it was at GWS where they had experienced some level of success so a new coach had something to work with. This is a team that aspires to mediocrity. It will be a big test. They would like to see Witts stay fit, he is an elite ruck on his second season back from a knee and so important to the team.
It is so hard to get excited about the Gold Coast, most of the season it is enough effort to remember they even exist. They have the list, they have the coach. They no longer have any excuses. They will need to play finals soon. I don’t think this is the year however. I think they will threaten the eight for large parts of the year before finishing in the 10-12 range.