Old Hawk sees the Suns’ AFL rise coming
They may be winless and stone motherless last on the AFL ladder but Campbell Brown sees plenty of similarities between the Gold Coast Suns and the Hawthorn side which grew into a premiership outfit.
Former Hawk Brown began his career a decade ago with a bunch of emerging youngsters under Peter Schwab before Alastair Clarkson led them to the 2008 AFL flag.
The 28-year-old hardman hasn’t forgotten how quickly things can turn for an inexperienced outfit and likes what is brewing at the Suns.
Brown was a teenager in his second year in 2003 when the Hawks were struggling at 3-7 before storming home to win nine of their last 12 matches to narrowly miss the finals.
Schwab was sacked the next year as Hawthorn won just four matches, and the rebuild started slowly with Clarkson’s first season in charge in 2005 netting five wins.
With Gold Coast the only team to have lost all 10 matches this season, Brown expects a swift reversal of fortunes just like his previous club.
“I was just saying to a few of the guys we were (3-7) after 10 rounds in 2003 and we had a much more experienced list than this with guys like (Shane) Crawford and (Nathan) Thompson and Jonathan Hay and a heap of senior guys,” he said on Wednesday.
“We’ve got a young side and we’re getting games into them and we’re teaching them.
“It’s playing great sides like St Kilda and Collingwood … that you really learn how far you’ve got to come to not just be a good side but a good, competitive, premiership side.”
Brown said the young Hawks turned the corner through extreme discipline and relentlessness before experience kicked in.
“You need games to work on your craft and understand just how important each role is in a side,” the defender-turned-forward said.
“I think once everyone gets their head around that we’ll make pretty significant improvements in a short space of time.”
The Suns meet the Saints on Saturday at Metricon Stadium looking to rebound from their demolition at the hands of Collingwood.
St Kilda also ripped the Coast apart by 92 points in round two, which Brown rates as their worst loss this season.
But the seasoned enforcer stressed the Suns were a far superior side to that which won three games in their debut season.
“I know we had a couple of wins by this stage, but we’ve won more quarters, our ball movement has been more structured and better, the defensive aspect of our game has improved significantly,” he said.© AAP 2013
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