AFL preview series: Gold Coast Suns – 18th

Cameron Rose Columnist

By Cameron Rose, Cameron Rose is a Roar Expert


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    Who wouldn't want Tom Lynch in their team? Well, apparently it doesn't matter, you still shouldn't say it. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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    Gold Coast lost their final game of 2017 by 115 points, kicking only three goals in the process. They had literally two scoring shots after quarter time.

    Since then, Gary Ablett has left, and a new coach, Stewart Dew, has been installed. Their best player, Tom Lynch, is out of contract at season’s end and, with suitors lining up, would be mad to stay.

    Right now, the Suns are in a position where they are the most irrelevant team the VFL/AFL has had in over 100 years. No money, no supporters, no hope.

    Let’s see what 2018 has in store.

    B: Jack Bowes, Rory Thompson, Kade Kolodjashnij
    HB: Pearce Hanley, Steven May, Jarrod Harbrow
    C: Aaron Hall, Jarryd Lyons, Matt Rosa
    HF: Aaron Young, Tom Lynch, Jack Martin
    F: Ben Ainsworth, Peter Wright, Callum Ah Chee
    Foll: Jarrod Witts, Michael Barlow, Lachie Weller
    Int: Sam Day, David Swallow, Touk Miller, Will Brodie
    Em: Tom Nicholls, Brayden Fiorini, Michael Rischitelli

    There is nothing to get excited about looking at the squad above, and the initial impression is that any result other than wooden spoon would be a sterling effort by all involved.

    Tom J Lynch

    (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

    Gold Coast have the youngest list in the league, and in many ways are worse off than when they entered the competition in 2011.

    The Suns have three players aged 30 or older – Michael Barlow, Matt Rose and Michael Rischitelli – hardly the most inspiring collection of names to lead the way. Jarrod Harbrow and Pearce Hanley are next in line, and will turn 30 in 2018. Harbrow has been a solid citizen since moving up north, while Hanley can at least inject some run and class if he can stay fit enough.

    The next bracket of players is made up of those that joined the club in the early years, several of whom probably wouldn’t make the list of any other club, and players who weren’t getting a regular game elsewhere and have taken an opportunity to continue playing AFL.

    Lynch is the marquee name in this group but went backwards last year, perhaps burdened by his first season of co-captaincy in a dysfunctional team. He didn’t impose himself as an individual like he had in the past, and was too often a passive presence or non-entity on the field.

    Steven May can rightfully be considered as one of the best key defenders in the league, Aaron Hall is a valuable runner that plays with freedom to great effect, while Jarryd Lyons is in the conversation for most underrated player in the competition. Jarrod Witts relished getting an extended run as number one ruckman last year and was arguably Gold Coast’s most consistent player.

    Lynch, May, Hall, Lyons, Witts and Hanley are going to be at the core of any wins the Suns have this season. They’ll have to perform well, always, and bring their less experienced and less talented teammates along with them.

    Of the other list members in the middle age (in football terms) bracket, David Swallow and Aaron Young will be handy in their roles as inside mid and roaming forward pocket respectively, Rory Thompson once had potential but seems to go backwards every year, while the likes of Alex Sexton, Jesse Lonergan and Sean Lemmens add nothing to the footballing landscape yet played almost 50 games between them last season.

    Sam Day is on the comeback trail from a nasty hip injury, and has a place as a bits and pieces tall if he can get back to what he was, which really wasn’t that much.

    Gold Coast has plenty of young players, as always, which they are hoping will come through together and drive the club to a maiden finals position at some stage.

    A lot was given up for Lachie Weller, which brings about pressure of its own, although this is alleviated by going to an off-Broadway club. Peter Wright has produced similar numbers across the last two seasons, but has been a valuable contributor for such a tall young player. He will make a big leap forward this season or next.

    Aaron Hall Gold Coast Suns AFL

    (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    Jack Martin does get better each year, but what, exactly, is he going to become? He’s not a small forward in the traditional sense, but is very lightly-framed for a marking player. He’s been tried everywhere and can play, so we’ll learn a little more this year.

    Kade Kolodjashnij and Touk Miller have plateaued or even gone backwards in recent seasons, but showed enough in their early days to say they can still go up a level or two. They’re both only 22 and still have time on their side, but football watchers are an impatient lot.

    The Suns have seven players taken in the top 20 at the last three national drafts, which is over 10 per cent of available draftees in that bracket over this time.

    Callum Ah Chee has had the most exposure of this lot, having played 30 games, followed by Brayden Fiorini (15), Ben Ainsworth (13), Jack Bowes (11), Jack Scrimshaw (4) and Will Brodie (3).

    Will Powell was taken at pick 19 in the 2017 national draft, as a very speculative pick. Someone must have seen something they liked, given Gold Coast are in a position where they need to nail every selection.

    All of these youngsters should get opportunities this year, with several of them likely to take their place in Round 1, so a spot will be theirs to lose. A rebuilding side is always interesting to watch, as we try and assess who is going to ‘make it’, and who is on track to be a top-liner.

    Michael Barlow Gold Coast Suns AFL 2017 tall

    (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    Stewart Dew was a premiership player at both Hawthorn and Port Adelaide and spent almost a decade as assistant coach at Sydney. Credentials don’t come much more enhanced, so he will have the respect of all as he tries to establish the right behaviours and attitudes learned in his time at those clubs. He is a patient man, and will need to be throughout what is sure to be a long season.

    In four of the first five rounds, Gold Coast play North Melbourne, Carlton, Fremantle and Brisbane, all of their fellow contenders for the wooden spoon. A win or two in that run is imperative, even though none of these games will be played at Metricon due to the Commonwealth Games.

    If the Suns are 0-5, we should shut them down and move them to Tasmania during the mid-season byes. Perhaps we should do that anyway.

    Prediction: 18th

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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    The Crowd Says (147)

    • February 19th 2018 @ 6:54am
      Bob said | February 19th 2018 @ 6:54am | ! Report

      Joke of a club, the sooner they fold the better

      • February 26th 2018 @ 1:04pm
        Bludger said | February 26th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

        That won’t happen. AFL and QLD government have contracts. They just need a few players here and there and they will be a good draw. Don’t forget North Melbourne took 50 years to win a flag after entering the competition. It takes a while.

        Who is there right mind is tipping North Melbourne to beat the Suns? Might be time to get checked for dementia? Suns will be ahead of North. They get 12 games in QLD for starters.

    • February 19th 2018 @ 6:57am
      J Ball said | February 19th 2018 @ 6:57am | ! Report

      Wait for Tom Lynch to tell us all throughout the year that he’s happy at the Suns and sees a long future there…only to except a multi-million dollar deal with a Victorian club. I wouldn’t blame him too

      • February 19th 2018 @ 7:42am
        I ate pies said | February 19th 2018 @ 7:42am | ! Report

        I reckon Steven May will be poached too. He’d be a very highly rated defender if he was at a decent club.

    • February 19th 2018 @ 7:31am
      Chris said | February 19th 2018 @ 7:31am | ! Report

      Destination club one of the two C´s? Carlton or Collingwood?

      • Columnist

        February 19th 2018 @ 10:18am
        Cameron Rose said | February 19th 2018 @ 10:18am | ! Report

        Richmond’s been making plans to get him, but it’s hard to see how they could compete with Collingwood and particularly Carlton’s salary cap.

        • February 19th 2018 @ 11:37am
          truetigerfan said | February 19th 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

          Perhaps he could seek out Adam Treloar for some sound advice.

          • February 19th 2018 @ 3:48pm
            Peter the Scribe said | February 19th 2018 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

            Come on TrueTiger, you would love Treloar in your team and you know it.

    • February 19th 2018 @ 7:43am
      I ate pies said | February 19th 2018 @ 7:43am | ! Report

      GC won’t finish 18th – Collingwood will. You heard it here first folks. AFLX confirmed that their kicking skills haven’t improved at all.

      • February 19th 2018 @ 9:27am
        Kangajets X said | February 19th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

        Collingwood X team will be better then Collingwood A team
        18 th for the magpies this year .

        • February 19th 2018 @ 3:50pm
          Peter the Scribe said | February 19th 2018 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

          Ha Ha I’d love to take some of your money on any bets on these outlandish comments. Pies will finish 4-6th this season whether De Goey plays at all or not. He is a fine young player, but replaceable. I notice James Aish was playing forward in AFLX, one bloke’s error opens anothers opportunity.

          • February 19th 2018 @ 6:26pm
            truetigerfan said | February 19th 2018 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

            Aishy won’t get a kick playing as a forward.

      • February 19th 2018 @ 10:07am
        Chris said | February 19th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Collingwood finishing 18th is a godsend for us Maggies. We get first draft pick, Buckley goes and with him Eddie McGuire. Then we can come back like a Phoenix in 2019. Let’s do a Tommy Hafey on the competition once more.

        • Columnist

          February 19th 2018 @ 10:20am
          Cameron Rose said | February 19th 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

          Doubt they could finish last, but you sense they’ll be around their usual mark outside the eight.

    • February 19th 2018 @ 7:44am
      Chris said | February 19th 2018 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      Rory Sloane? One of the two C’s? Carlton or Collingwood? It’s glaringly obvious why the two wise old clubs of the VFL were not that keen on the recent trade period. Things in October, 2018 may have a lot more spice resembling a Chicken Tikka Masala…

      • February 19th 2018 @ 9:52am
        Sammy said | February 19th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        You got ollie wines’ name wrong

        • February 19th 2018 @ 10:41am
          Bob said | February 19th 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

          Nope, he got the name completely right. Sloane will have a lot more interest from Melbourne than Wines.

          • February 19th 2018 @ 12:44pm
            truetigerfan said | February 19th 2018 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

            You’re right, Bob. But not even Sloane would help save Collingwood from free falling even further.

            • February 19th 2018 @ 3:51pm
              Peter the Scribe said | February 19th 2018 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

              We don’t need Sloane, (though I’d still love to have him) our mids bat deep, we need Lynch.

          • February 19th 2018 @ 3:22pm
            sammy said | February 19th 2018 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

            well that remains to be seen..wines is what – 23, Sloane is 28..if a million a season is going to be spent, wines represents better long term I said, he got wines’ name wrong

            • February 19th 2018 @ 5:13pm
              Bob said | February 19th 2018 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

              I don’t think either will be on the move. Both are too important to their respective clubs.

      • Roar Guru

        February 19th 2018 @ 7:02pm
        Dalgety Carrington said | February 19th 2018 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

        Tikka Masala’s not spicy.

        • February 20th 2018 @ 2:52pm
          Sarge said | February 20th 2018 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

          By definition it is spicy, just not hot

    • February 19th 2018 @ 8:03am
      JustAnotherVoiceOnTheInternet said | February 19th 2018 @ 8:03am | ! Report

      I got all excited thinking footy season was closer than it actually is, but you have just started these a week early Cam?

      Brutal assessment, but pretty fair to be honest. I’ve decided to throw out my predictions alongside yours each day, for what it’s worth:

      18. Gold Coast

      • Columnist

        February 19th 2018 @ 10:17am
        Cameron Rose said | February 19th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        Good call, we did bring it forward a week. Same with the Top 50, brought forward a few weeks. We felt there was a thirst for earlier footy content.

        Hard to see anything but bottom couple of GC, especially with no home ground for so long.