Gold Coast Suns lights go out

By Darren Cartwright, Darren Cartwright is a Roar Rookie

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    Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna is unfazed about the prospect of going through the AFL season without a win and says his focus is on individual improvement and being competitive.

    The Suns have lost their first three matches by a combined 290 points and, with such a young and inexperienced list, there appears little hope that a win is anywhere on the 2011 horizon.

    He said there’s nothing new about talk emanating from the south that the Suns recruited too thinly by not signing enough uncontracted players and they are heading for a winless season.

    “I’ve heard it enough,” McKenna said.

    “You think ‘thanks very much, I’ve heard that before’ and move on.”

    One point McKenna does make is not discussing the prospect of losing every game with his young playing group.

    “It’s something we don’t talk about,” McKenna said.

    “When we get it right like we saw on the weekend, for a bit more than a quarter, we are more than competitive.

    “People sit back and measure the season on how big or small your losses are.

    “Take away the last 15 minutes (against Melbourne) and we were 33, 37 points down and it’s a good effort for a side that has only played three games together.”

    McKenna is not only fighting off talk his side will not win a match, but also that his club is being too lenient with captain Gary Ablett.

    Ablett stayed behind after the Western Bulldogs road trip to socialise, and upon his return a couple of days later declared he was feeling sore, before pulling out of last Sunday’s match because of a calf complaint.

    Former Sydney coach Paul Roos questioned the professionalism of Ablett and the Suns’ for allowing their gun midfielder to stay behind for a couple of nights in Melbourne instead of immediately flying home for treatment.

    McKenna said Roos’ comments on Fox Sports’ On The Couch would have been valid had Ablett not declared his injury until Tuesday at training.

    “What Paul Roos said On The Couch is spot on,” McKenna said.

    “We are no different to Sydney. No different to West Coast.

    “If you report injured after the game you go straight home.

    “He (Ablett) didn’t report injured after the game, he had a media commitment and stayed down. We were well aware of it.

    “In Gary’s case, he didn’t report sore (after the game), he reported sore at out first training session and that happens.

    “Enough has been said about it.”

    The Suns had only a light training session on Tuesday at a local gym ahead of Saturday’s clash with Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium and McKenna said he expects Ablett to return.

    “He’s going to have a run today but he’s pretty good. I’m pretty certain he’ll play,” he said.

    However, defender Michael Coad will miss at least three months – possibly the season, after scans revealed he tore the hamstring off the bone against Melbourne.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • April 20th 2011 @ 7:28am
      Tom said | April 20th 2011 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      The franchise would be a failure if that happened. Any coach in any sport with that record would be given the sack.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

    • April 20th 2011 @ 1:33pm
      kick to kick said | April 20th 2011 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

      The Suns should not be fazed by initial lack of success. That wil come in a rush, but maybe not until season 3 when a phalanx of brilliant young players will reach the 50 game mark together. Suns fans might however be concerned by an apparent lack of tactical coaching nous. This young team seems to have been told to link and hand pass out of the backline, a tactic which even Geelong is having to modify under the scrutiny of the Collingwood press, now being practised by all clubs.

    • April 20th 2011 @ 1:46pm
      UD Almería said | April 20th 2011 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

      No doubt that Gold Coast’s teenagers will come good in a few years.

      McKenna is correct to point out that at the 7 min mark of the last quarter, the Suns were within 37 points of the demons, and actually won the 3rd quarter.

      This is how you expect a young team to progrees. The next milestone is being able to win two quarters, they might still lose that game heavily, especially if your opponent is going to score the last six or seven goals of a game, as might happen, but that’s still a big achievement to bookmark.

      Next, you’re trying to win three quarters, and hopefully that will lead to a win (although in their case, it’s no guarantee!)

      Along with that, you’re trying to win at least 12 of your one-on-one battles – a very big ask for such a young team, but that’s what needs to happen for them to win their first game.

      I just read this morning that Zeph Skinner is playing VFL reserves (the equivalent of 3rd grade, a very low 3rd grade).

      The Western Bulldogs recruited him from the NT comp, he’s in his early 20s, quite experienced, mature bodied and plenty of skill, but he has to do his time in that 3rd grade because he needs to get his stamina up to AFL levels and get used to the pace and intensity of AFL footy.

      Quite a few of these Suns teenagers really aren’t all that far advanced over Zeph Skinner, yet they’re out there trying to get a kick against battle hardened opponents. Most of them are probably doing it about one year earlier than they would under normal circumstances, and even then, there wouldn’t be so many all at once.

      But there’s no better training than being out there doing it. Essendon won premierships in 84-85 and 93 on the back of talented teenagers being thrown into the deep end. Timmy Watson debuted at the age of 15 years and 9 mths (no longer possible). I think Dustin Fletcher was still finishing high school when he was part of the 93 premiership (and he was best on ground last weekend at the ripe old age of 35).

      The Suns will come good – very good.

      • April 20th 2011 @ 2:11pm
        woodsman said | April 20th 2011 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

        I’m with you UDA, and it is a fascinating wonderful spectacle watching each step. I never thought I could follow another club, but its been great watching the Suns so far. Swallow will be a triple-Brownlow contender.

        • April 20th 2011 @ 2:20pm
          UD Almería said | April 20th 2011 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

          It might be tough being a Suns supporter at the moment, but if they understand footy, they’ll understand that some sort of pay day is on the horizon, it may not be a premiership, but it most certainly will be a team capable of beating anyone on their day.

          And there’s no greater thrill for a footy fan than watching young players turn into champions.

        • April 20th 2011 @ 4:03pm
          Macca said | April 20th 2011 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

          Swallow might win a triple Brownlow but it will probably be for North, Greg Swann (Carlton CEO) has already signalled his intent on paoching suns players who get sick of being belted each week in front of 12,000 fans, The boom years might be a bit furhter away than people think.

    • April 20th 2011 @ 6:28pm
      ac said | April 20th 2011 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

      Maybe the AFL is actually wrong for once on what they can achieve., Its early days tho yet, But the ratings for tv etc are not looking good.

      • April 21st 2011 @ 9:17am
        UD Almería said | April 21st 2011 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        Is that right?

        Let us look at the ratings:
        GC vs Melb, Ch 7 (on one hour delay): 438,000, incl 75,000 in Brisbane.

        Is that bad? I don’t know. What can we compare to? What about comparing to:

        Pen vs Melb, ch 9: 493,000, incl 37,000 in Melbourne.

        Some interesting points. The 75k from Brisbane watching the Suns was higher than the Adelaide’s ratings. Almost as many in Sydney watched the Suns as compared to the amount that watched the Storm in Melbourne.

        That looks ok to me.

        In the future, the AFL can look forward to having at least two games telecast live into the Brisbane market getting about 100k each. Sometimes it will be a bit under, other times a bit over. That’s fine – it all goes into the national mix which assures an average of 600k+ per game right through the season.

        It’s the big number nationwide for the whole season that matters – that’s where the money is.

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