At the beginning of October, St Kilda football boss Simon Lethlean confirmed the club was thinking about making a play for Gold Coast’s Ben King in the 2020 trade period.
The Gold Coast Suns played against GWS on Saturday afternoon on their own terms, asserting dominance to step over the Giants to defend their turf. GWS never had a real chance as a tough Suns outfit controlled the match at Metricon.
Looking fit and ready to do business, the Suns played solid football, with Gary Ablett performing at least one of his trademark superstar tricks for a mind-boggling goal. Determined Suns Danny Stanley and Michael Rischitelli were a pleasure to watch as they threw themselves into the game to rack up two goals each, while Tom Lynch oozed confidence to boot a career high five goals.
GWS powerhouse Jonathon Patton looked impressive at times in the forward line, but his impact on the Giants goal tally was certainly curbed when coach Leon Cameron decided to try him at the back. Jeremy Cameron showed some class, hammered through clean goals whenever the opportunity arose, and finished with a total of four. But the Gold Coast weren’t going to sit around and watch.
Jarrod Harbrow worked like a mad man – running, dodging and spinning to make the game work in the Suns favour. Jaeger O’Meara, Greg Broughton and David Swallow also showed why they deserve to be there.
The weak links in the Suns team have been weeded out by Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna, and their midfield is talented, consistent and relentless.
While the Giants certainly have a few potential superstars in their mix, their inexperience showed on the day. Although, one of the most memorable moments of the match was provided by GWS defender Nick Haynes as he desperately threw himself through air to successfully thwart a Suns’ goal. There is no doubt the Giants have a few tricks up their sleeves, and while they may not be a threat yet, their time will come.
The Suns’ new kids on the block, Sean Lemmens and Kade Kolodjashnij, are holding their own and adding value to the fast growing Gold Coast team in their first season. When Suns stars Charlie Dixon and Harley Bennell return to the fold, it is startling to imagine just how good this team could get.
Many doubted McKenna in his first couple of seasons as head coach, but he is driven and determined – characteristics that are now being instilled into his team. Along with McKenna, the Suns have a High Performance Team, including Stephen Schwerdt and Paul Haines, who are exceptional at what they do. Their work is starting to pay dividends.
All Suns players looked happy with their success over the Giants, and so they should. This is in stark contrast to their sloppy win over the Demons last week, where they walked off the field with their tails between their legs. It is a revealing sign that the Gold Coast are no longer satisfied with just a win when they know they can do better. McKenna’s boys, led by Gary Ablett, are gaining self-belief.
There are still a few areas where the Suns lack polish. They’ll need to find that to take their game to the next level and to match it with the likes of Hawthorn and Geelong. But now it’s no longer a matter of if they’ll do it, it’s just a matter of ‘when’.