Can the Suns shine between a rock and a hard place?

Maddy Friend Columnist

By Maddy Friend, Maddy Friend is a Roar Expert

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    With another mammoth loss by the Gold Coast over the weekend, it seems almost certain that captain Tom Lynch will look to move back to a Victorian club, where he will likely see much more success.

    The Suns are no strangers to players leaving to seek greener pastures, but Lynch’s departure looms as a litmus test – both on and off-field.

    The skipper leaving could be an irreparable tear in the fabric of the already delicate culture that coach Stuart Dew has been trying to stitch together.

    Lynch is one of the game’s best players – he’s certainly the Gold Coast’s best player – and his leaving would signal to his younger teammates that there’s not much future to be had on the glitter strip. They have lost Dion Prestia, Jaeger O’Meara, Josh Caddy, Gary Ablett, Charlie Dixon, Brandon Matera, Adam Saad, and Zac Smith in recent years, all of whom have gone on to play well in other teams, and all of whom would be in the Suns’ best side.

    The losses of Ablett and O’Meara arguably hit the hardest, but Lynch leaving would be catastrophic, nearly to the point of no return in terms of being able to build a successful culture.

    However, it seems like that’s what will happen, and so the Suns must try to make the best of a bad situation.

    They have two obvious options come October – let Lynch leave as a restricted free agent and pocket the compensation pick, or seek to trade him and demand a pick and a player in return. Unfortunately, both are likely to leave the club on a hiding to nothing, seeking to choose the ‘least worst’ option.

    Option 1: Use free agency compensation at the draft
    If Lynch leaves as a restricted free agent – Gold Coast opting not to match a bid for him – the club is likely to receive a pick between three and five, given their current ladder position.

    The top end of this year’s draft pool is strong, and features an excellent crop of taller players – one of Max King, Ben King, or Jack Lukosius shapes as a forward-line replacement. They could also net Sam Walsh, who is the draft’s best midfielder, or another talented player like South Australian Izak Rankine.

    Any of these players would be a good pick up, however, taking this option poses several risks.

    Firstly, none of these players are from Queensland. For many clubs, a player’s origin wouldn’t be an issue; however, Gold Coast have such a bad retention record that any may decide to leave at the end of their initial two-year contracts. Also, other than Lukosius, who has played SANFL footy, they’re likely to take time to develop, meaning that they won’t be able to mirror Lynch’s impact next year.

    And that’s the rub – Gold Coast recognised the shortcomings of their list in recent years, and set about making amends through the draft. Two years ago, they stockpiled picks four, seven, eight and ten, bringing in four quality players, but also players who have taken time to develop.

    The club’s list profile makes this an issue – outside of its developed core of David Swallow (97 games), Michael Rischitelli (104 games for Gold Coast) Jarrod Harbrow (132 for Gold Coast), Steven May (106), Sam Day (98), Aaron Hall (97), Rory Thompson (86), Kade Kolojashnij (70), Touk Miller (60), and Jack Martin (66), the team has 19 players who have played 55 games or fewer, and have Michael Barlow, Aaron Young, Lachie Weller, and Jarrod Witts who have all played games for other clubs, but are still fledgling Gold Coast players.

    That’s a staggeringly inexperienced team, and while the top end has some talent, it’s not enough to carry the team every week. Adding another high draft-pick would just compound the pain, committing them to yet more years of on-field malaise.

    Sam Walsh tall

    Sam Walsh of AFL Academy (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Option 2: Use free agency compensation to trade for players
    In this scenario, the club receives picks three of five from the AFL, and decides that, instead of hitting the draft, they will use that pick to trade in a player from another club.

    That’s great in theory, and there’ll likely be many clubs interested in improving their draft hand at the top end this year, however it’s unlikely to end in the desired outcome.

    The fact is that top players just don’t want to play there, which is why, when Weller expressed a desire to move back to Queensland, the club decided that they would get him, whatever the cost.

    Otherwise, in recent years they have secured Aaron Young from Port Adelaide, Jarryd Lyons and Harrison Wigg from Adelaide, and Michael Barlow from Fremantle. Lyons is a decent player who was probably unlucky not to break into Adelaide’s best side, but the others are handy depth players at best.

    Those inclusions aren’t major improvements, and while the club’s culture and on-field fortunes are in such a bad way, they won’t be able to attract decent players.

    This means that if the club does decide to trade pick five, it’s likely going to be for a player who is worth well below that. Other clubs can see that the Gold Coast is in a precarious position, and will leverage that to either lure players from the club, or to offer up badly-skewed trades.

    Jarryd Lyons of the Suns

    Jarryd Lyons of the Suns (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

    Option 3: Trade Lynch for a pick and a player
    It’s rare that eligible free agents have left via trades, and it’s unlikely to happen in this circumstance, but it’s worth exploring.

    Again, there are several issues here. As with Option 2, the Suns are unlikely to get a player of high quality from the club receiving Lynch, and would likely have the same result were they to on-trade the high draft-pick received for Lynch.

    The second is that Gold Cast have a history of playing hardball with departing players, demanding overs and then having to accept far less. We’ve seen this in receiving compensation for a departing player (a la Ablett and O’Meara) or in trading for an established player, as evidenced by last year’s bizarre decision to switch the club’s prized pick two for Fremantle midfielder Lachie Weller and pick 41.

    I can understand Tony Cochrane and the other club top brass wanting to get the best possible outcome in these situations, and they probably did well to get the returns that they did, but it doesn’t help the club’s reputation at the trade table.

    The pattern goes something like this:

    Step 1: three months before the draft, Gold Coast chairman Tony Cochrane comes out and makes a bellicose statement about the player in question being required, and that the club will not let them go cheaply.
    Step 2: repeat Step 1 a few more times, but add ridicule from fans and the media about Gold Coast’s asking price.
    Step 3: Gold Coast refuse to budge from their offer of pick five for another club’s star player (think Rory Sloane, Dustin Martin or Patrick Dangerfield).
    Step 4: at the beginning of trade period, Gold Coast decree they won’t be taken for a ride and will emerge with a fair outcome.
    Step 5: at the 11th hour, the Suns realise they had better get whatever compensation they can for the departing player, and agree to trade pick five for a fringe player, plus a lower pick.

    What should the Suns do?
    I’d take Option A.

    It may be the most publicly unpalatable, given the club has been in the competition for eight years with nothing to show for it, but they’re trapped in a vicious cycle of being unable to attract good players largely due to their poor culture, which is an issue that could take years to fix.

    Rather than continuing to pursue the current strategy of picking up other club’s discarded players to try and prop up a shallow list, it’s better to take some short-term pain and embark on a total rebuild. At the moment, they’re trying to paper over severe structural cracks in the hope that somehow, the building will remain standing and may even fix itself. That’s a recipe for disaster – eventually, it’s going to come crashing down around them.

    It’s better to invest in the draft, and get the selections right (which obviously is a challenge in itself, and I could write a whole other article about their woeful drafting), and then build the culture around those players so that they invest in the club and make it somewhere they want to be.

    It might take another three or four years, but we’ve seen with clubs like Carlton and Brisbane in recent times, which also found themselves in dire on-field circumstances due to terrible list management strategies, that investing in the draft is worth it in the long-term. Yes, both of those clubs are still mired in the bottom reaches of the ladder, but both now look to have the talent to set themselves up for success.

    Since Brisbane, in particular, has taken this tack, player retention rates have improved, and provide a good model for their younger Queensland sibling.

    Whatever the Suns’ decision, they need to come up with a forward-looking strategy that weighs up the short-term against where the club wants to be in five years.

    Because, without it, there’s a real possibility that the Suns will cease to exist.

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    The Crowd Says (138)

    • Roar Pro

      June 13th 2018 @ 8:15am
      Samuel Ord said | June 13th 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      For the life of me I just cannot envision a world where the Gold Coast Suns are a success.

      The local base just isn’t there and less than 10 years after introduction they’ve enjoyed no success and are an after thought. I’m honestly guilty of forgetting they exist at times.

      I don’t think keeping Tom Lynch helps them at all, and I think he knows that – hence why he’s so likely to leave.

      The greatest player to ever play the game (GAJ) headed up to the Gold Coast in his prime alongside – this is a pretty controversial opinion – a good coach in Guy McKenna – and tampered drafts and they still couldn’t get the team into finals.

      I don’t see how Tom Lynch can do what GAJ couldn’t. I know GAJ’s leadership traits have always been questioned but he nearly got them to the finals prior to losing that shoulder. I don’t see how anyone else can do it. No supporters, no good facilities, no stunning resources – how could they possibly make it?

      • June 13th 2018 @ 8:37am
        truetigerfan said | June 13th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        I understand your thinking and frustration, Samuel. If the AFL powers are stubborn enough to forge ahead with the Suns I hope they put as much energy and as many resources into making the Suns viable as they seem to be putting into the ‘state of the game’ the ‘sky is falling’ stampede. They should be attending the quieter victims in Queensland, I include Brisbane, before the noisy, aesthetically offended change for the sake of change brigade elsewhere. Seems to many that the QLD sides are out of sight, out of mind. The problem is the squealing from the usual suspects will be deafening down south if they are afforded ‘extra’ assistance. I’m looking at you in particular, Ed!

      • Roar Guru

        June 13th 2018 @ 8:37am
        Cat said | June 13th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        They have the equal of any teams facilities now. The AFL did screw up in setting them up without them. The facilities should have been done before the team was started.

        GAJ probably would have got the Suns into finals if his shoulder didn’t go, who knows what could have happened from there.

        Looking back now the Suns had no chance of being successful from the start. Too many mistakes were made. The concessions they got were half of what GWS got. The people put in charge were the wrong people. Those wrong people made some really, really poor drafting and signing choices outside of GAJ.

        There is absolutely no reason the Suns can’t turn it around now. This year was always going to be a lost cause with the Commonwealth games disruption. Dew should spend the rest of this year finding out who is worth keeping and then showing the door to the rest.

        • June 13th 2018 @ 10:46am
          Aligee said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

          Yep I agree

        • June 13th 2018 @ 10:55am
          GoSwans said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

          I agree that they can turn it around. The Swans had many torrid years and eventually you got a group who said enough.

          I think GAJ was a massive mistake. Too much tied up in one player. GWS’s strategy has worked better. Is it too late to now use that strategy.

          • June 13th 2018 @ 7:35pm
            Joe B said | June 13th 2018 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

            K Hunt and Campbell Brown where the biggest mistakes GCS made… GAJ didn’t have the off field leadership skills to counter their damage.

    • Roar Guru

      June 13th 2018 @ 8:15am
      Peter the Scribe said | June 13th 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      Tony Cochrane was on SEN yesterday and sounded like an absolute dill. It was embarrassing. He spoke in platitudes and cliches and most of it was about him and what he had done since his arrival. I don’t know how Dew could work under him. Gold Coast are at best a long term project and at worst a failed experiment. Lynch is clearly leaving. We actually don’t know how good he can be as he has been playing for such a poor side. Imagine him getting some delivery inside 50? His average marks inside 50 have gone from 3.4 in 2016 to 2.1 in 2017 and now 2.0 in 2018. If anything this year so far besides that one huge game his $ value has slightly decreased. Which club will he go to? Clarko seems cosy with the AFL lately so perhaps he will end up a Hawk.

    • June 13th 2018 @ 9:10am
      Don Freo said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

      Until his new injury, Barlow was averaging 45 disposals a game…and not being picked. He is far more than ‘a handy depth player’.

      Selection policy is an issue.

      • June 13th 2018 @ 9:57am
        Mr X said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        Totally agreed. Lyons is a underrated. Arguably the club’s best midfielder. Now if you drop your club’s best midfielder then you are deep trouble. Have the Giants dropped Tomlinson or shiel just because they’ve been out of form? No they stuck by them. Suns need to play Barlow. They’re treating him like the eagles treated Partington and how the Giants are treating Bonar. Yet Rischetelli still gets a game. If he was at any other club in the afl besides Brisbane, Gold Coast or Carlton then he wouldn’t even be on the list. So you can’t say Barlow’s been being kept out for ‘youth’ when Rischetelli gets a game every week.

        • June 13th 2018 @ 9:59am
          Mr X said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          Don’t get me wrong Rischetelli was a great player in Brisbane lions in the late 2000s and the best ever recruit besides Jarrie Harbrow but his time is up. Barlow hasn’t been given a chance to show whether he can play good football or that is time is up.

      • Roar Guru

        June 13th 2018 @ 1:49pm
        SportsFanGC said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

        DonFreo – 45 disposals in the NEAFL is a lot like an AFL player going back to the WAFL, SANFL or VFL and grabbing 25 disposals. Its not earth shattering and wouldn’t warrant a recall.

        I was more than happy that Will Brodie was brought into the team ahead of Barlow when the opportunity presented.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if Dew has already made his mind up on a few of the Veterans and is now scoping out the kids to see who he wants to keep and who is going to be cut.

        He has a tough 3 years ahead of him to reconstruct the list after the deplorable state Scott Clayton and his recruiting team left it in.

    • June 13th 2018 @ 9:21am
      Bob said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      Joke of a club, The sooner they fold the better. Hopefully the after this tv deal is up the afl moves to a streamkng system where fans pay them directly for content, The we van drop to 14 trans and the talent isnt spread do thin. Gold coast, gws world have to be first on the choppibg block

      • Roar Guru

        June 13th 2018 @ 1:43pm
        SportsFanGC said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

        Bob – Doesn’t say a lot about Aussie Rules, a sport played in one country, that the two biggest states with more than 51% of the population are not engaged and your solution is to drop back to 14 Teams?

        How do you grow the game, and its revenue, when you cut teams?

        • June 13th 2018 @ 1:56pm
          Jon Boy said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

          Your not growing the game , and its revenue when 7,000 turn up to a game it is a disgrace .

          • June 13th 2018 @ 3:29pm
            Christo the Daddyo said | June 13th 2018 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

            That’s 7,000 people who wouldn’t have come to an AFL game.

            Again, how do you grow the game if you cut teams?

            • June 13th 2018 @ 3:50pm
              Jon Boy said | June 13th 2018 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

              You could grow the game by getting Victorian teams out Melbourne more often.My experience is one third of the population in WA are not Eagles or Docker fans.Freo has to travel to melbourne to play Geelong . Why not Geelong come to Perth to play Freo There are thousands who followed Geelong with Polly Farmer, Denis Marshall and Brian Peake just to name a few. Cable, Glendinning, and the Krakouer bros. at North people still support them over here not Freo or Eagles. Plus all the people who have left Victoria’s crap weather to live in a sunshine state.

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 5:17pm
                SportsFanGC said | June 13th 2018 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

                Jon Boy – Geelong travel to Perth every year, some years twice a year.

                Why would they go over more often than that?

                On the 7,000 crowd I presume you are talking about GWS?

                I will pose it the other way – why are Fremantle, a Club in a AFL stronghold city, with huge membership numbers, not getting anywhere close to selling out Optus Stadium?

              • June 13th 2018 @ 6:18pm
                Jon Boy said | June 13th 2018 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

                Freo and Eagles go to melbourne and interstate12 times a year Vic’s 4-5 not good enough for a true is still basically VFL but Victorians will not accept that .WA is a big state with a small population with a third of the people support Vic clubs plus Ross Lyon has messed Freo up the last 3 years which has not helped but things will get better. Averaging about 40,000 a game with some bad weather in some is a lot better than a lot of clubs.Geelong VNorths on weekend 31,000

              • June 13th 2018 @ 6:50pm
                Slane said | June 13th 2018 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

                Not this one again Jon Boy. Do the math. The ONLY way to get equal amount of travel for all teams is to get rid of 7 Victorian teams or put 7 more in each state bar Victoria. The only reason Victorian teams travel less is that there are more of them.

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 8:38pm
                Cat said | June 13th 2018 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

                There are two teams in WA. Even if Geelong played both away every year that’s still two games max. How do you propose to increase that? Think!

              • June 14th 2018 @ 5:56pm
                Jon Boy said | June 14th 2018 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

                Geelong 2019 True AFL fixture
                R1-Sydney-(syd) R2- W.B.(mel) R3-W.CE. (perth) R4- Carlton (mel) R5-G.C.S. (MS) R6- Freo (mel) R7-Port (adel) R8- Richmond (mel) R9- GWS (spot) R10 Hawthorn (mel) R11-St Kilda (mel) R12-BYE. R13 Adelaide (adel) R14- Essendon (mel) R15 – North (Tas) R16- Melbourne (mel) R17 – Brisbane (bris) R18- Collingwood (mel) R19- Freo (per) R20- Port (mel) R21- GCS- (mel) R22- Hawthorn (Tas) R23- Sydney (mel) 12 games in Melbourne 10 Away This fixture is nearly identical to the Eagles except Eagles are 11 and11. If All clubs in Melbourne had a similar draw you would find it would be about 13 or 14 in Melbourne only 8 or 9 away. Some clubs in Melbourne are only traveling 4-5 times. It will never happen of course but it should because it would be fair and a true National Comp. not a extended VFL

              • June 16th 2018 @ 10:33am
                Rob said | June 16th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

                Typical bloody Perth/WA mentality. Geelong do play in Perth – as do ALL teams when they are the AWAY team.

                I cant wait to get away from the place – not the beautiful city or state… just the idiot supporters who cant handle the fact they actually have to play away games 11 times per year.

                You got lucky annd conbed GC into playing a home gqme in WA but no one else will be dumb enough. Maybe the Eagles and Dockers should play some home games in Brisbane or North Queensland?

              • Roar Guru

                June 16th 2018 @ 11:27am
                Cat said | June 16th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

                Why would Geelong play 12 games in Melbourne? Geelong is NOT a suburb of Melbourne. It is its own distinct city.

            • June 13th 2018 @ 5:52pm
              John Ryan said | June 13th 2018 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

              Ah yes the Sydney GWS/AFL joke where 7000 huddle in the stands were the camera cant see them & hardy 500 scatter them selves around the ground to wave
              What utter BS, if there were 3500 at the game Jesus will walk through the heads next week,but the cameras don,t film the side that the people sit Why not?well I afraid that camera did & it turns out the crowd was as sparse as the rest of the ground

    • June 13th 2018 @ 9:30am
      christy olsen said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      According to the fan survey, there’s a lot of support for a team in Tassie.
      Might the Suns be a candidate to fill that spot?
      Let all of Queensland get behind the Lions and give the Suns a new start.

      • Roar Guru

        June 13th 2018 @ 10:45am
        Dalgety Carrington said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:45am | ! Report

        That’s because most fans go by emotion and are unrealistic. Tassie just doesn’t have the potential that Gold Coast does and is too small now. This is compounded by the fact there is a split between Launceston and Hobart that is not remotely likely to travel either way to a game in their rival city.

        • June 13th 2018 @ 10:59am
          IAP said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

          The problem is that Gold Coast doesn’t have potential. It’s been proven time and again that the people there are more interesting in surfing and their looks than any sort of ball sport.
          Tasmania has a similar population as the Gold Coast, but they like football; that’s a massive difference, and gives a team there much more potential to succeed than at a town where no-one is interested.
          The Launceston/Hobart split is a cop out, and can certainly be overcome; both towns already have grounds at AFL standard.

          • Roar Guru

            June 13th 2018 @ 11:45am
            Paul Dawson said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

            I agree that people living on the Gold Coast aren’t interested in watching pro sport – certainly not football. They’ll watch surfing, skateboarding, BMX – but in terms of footballing codes, they’re far more likely to take their own kids to play on Sat/Sun morning and then do something else in the evenings

            There’s a lot of very sporty, very fit people on the coast who do care about their bodies and looks – no bad thing given the ever increasing numbers of fatties in Australia – but the constant in all of this is that the football codes just look at the eyeballs on the coast, and don’t pay any attention to what those eyeballs are watching.

            Fundamentally the reason Tassie didn’t get a team is because that would have upset the VFL gravy train that subsidises North and Hawthorn down there. Far better to ruin the state of Queensland and ignore Tasmania than attempt to trim some fat off Victoria

            • Roar Rookie

              June 13th 2018 @ 9:23pm
              Chancho said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

              Hey Paul, I like your analogy re potential viewership. To me, it always felt that much of the rationale was: there are many southern state retirees up on the GC, they still like footy, therefore a Gold Coast team will be a hit. I understand this is a very facile point of view, but I do think the AFL were probably way too overconfident about how easy it would have been in such a cometetive market.

              Further to that, it seems that a lot of effort went into getting a club into the AFL, but not the execution thereafter. I was watching AFL 360 the other day and Robbo was saying that up until a couple of years ago they were still operating out of demountables. Not that that means everything but it lacks that feeling of reaching the upper echlon of the code.

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 11:47pm
                Paul Dawson said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

                I agree on the retirees but the issue is they just keep supporting their own club because the Suns/Lions aren’t worth following, and I can’t blame them

                There’s a reason the games against Richmond, Collingwood and Essendon are always the biggest crowds we get to footy games in QLD. Much bigger than the QClash

                I’m sure that will change if the Suns/Lions get good – but we wait. And yes, the demountables was dreadful, I think it was Sportsfan who was saying the players were losing muscle in sweat faster than they could put it on in the sweltering gym they were working out of in summer

          • Roar Rookie

            June 13th 2018 @ 11:49am
            Mattician6x6 said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

            65% of Tassie population draws a govt benefit, economically putting a team there makes no sense.

            • June 13th 2018 @ 12:11pm
              Slane said | June 13th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

              In 2015 it was around 33%. The national average being 23%. No idea where you are getting 65% from but it obviously wrong.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 13th 2018 @ 4:22pm
                Mattician6x6 said | June 13th 2018 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

                Just wanted to add some drama slane to go with the gcs is ruining the footy landscape imperialism.

            • June 13th 2018 @ 12:49pm
              IAP said | June 13th 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

              The whole of Tasmania is propped up by the mainland. Unemployment is rife on the Gold Coast as well. It doesn’t mean that people won’t go to the footy; especially if the AFL give away free tickets like they do to try to get a crowd to GWS games.

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 2:25pm
                Dalgety Carrington said | June 13th 2018 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

                I think maybe a place like the Gold Coast has a more diffused identity for the people living there and it may not have the same level of parochialism that other places may have that helps support a team when they’re not doing so well on the field.

                So really for the Gold Coast, like Sydney, on-field success will be needed to drive parochialism.

                There’s also the additional temptations for the players from such an active holiday/party place, which can derail a “knuckling down in the hards times” approach.

            • Roar Guru

              June 13th 2018 @ 12:53pm
              Paul Dawson said | June 13th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

              economically it doesn’t make much sense on the coast either – so far, anyway

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 2:11pm
                Dalgety Carrington said | June 13th 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

                It’s about potential though (and there is additional revenue-offset from the increases to the TV rights deal that having teams in such a market like the Gold Coast brings).

                The AFL make it work on the Gold Coast and the rewards are huge, plus it fits within the philosophy of expanding the game with a greater foothold nationally.

                The risks of the team folding are just as high, if not substantially higher, in Tasmania, while the rewards are much more modest.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 4:06pm
                IAP said | June 13th 2018 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

                You’re 100% incorrect Dalgety. The rewards aren’t huge at the Gold Coast; they’re (potentially) no bigger than those in Tasmania.

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 10:36pm
                Dalgety Carrington said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

                Oh yeah, just keep saying stuff if it feels good, nevermind logic.

                The population of the Gold Coast (~560k-590k) is bigger than the population of Tasmania (~520k, and the split is a genuine thing and plenty won’t travel from Launceston to Hobart pop ~200k).

                There are more potential converts and it makes a good trip to watch your team play.

                The population growth of the Gold Coast has been very consistent at ~2%. While Tassie’s population has experienced a “boom” of late, forecasts optimistically aim at 0.6%.

                It also bolsers the TV rights deal with a greater foothold in the growing Queensland market.

        • Roar Pro

          June 13th 2018 @ 7:31pm
          Samuel Ord said | June 13th 2018 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

          This is 100 per cent incorrect. I’ve seen the numbers crunched. Tasmania could viably support two clubs in the AFL system. People rip on the state for being small but also ignore the fact that Tasmania is a one hour and seven minute flight away from Victoria, the home of footy. Given the pitiful travel time Tassie would eventually just become a second Geelong in the system.

          Add to that the fact a huge percentage of Tasmanians passionately follow football. Can’t say the same for the Gold Coast or even large parts of Sydney.

          You’ve also got the pride and going home factor. Tasmania has produced heaps of amazing footballers. Matthew Richardson is one of them and has spoken at length about what it would have meant to him as a player to represent his home state. Richo said he never came close to leaving the (awful) Tigers in his career but if it was a Tasmanian side he would have had a hard time saying no. Also no players will sulk about “missing muh family” back in Victoria because it’s an hour away.

          All of this and so much more. It’s a joke that the AFL doesn’t have a Tasmanian side.

          • June 13th 2018 @ 8:29pm
            Floyd Calhoun said | June 13th 2018 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

            With all respect, Samuel, I’m sure the AFL have crunched the numbers re Tasmania even more than you have. It’s a nice place with a long Aussie Rules heritage, but the entire population is still only about a fifth of Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs. They’ll have their own team one day hopefully, but it’s still a fair way off. Having said that, the whole Gold Coast project is a shambles. It’s a cultural wasteland. Nothing grows there.

            • Roar Guru

              June 14th 2018 @ 12:13am
              Dalgety Carrington said | June 14th 2018 @ 12:13am | ! Report

              I reckon the “wasteland” idea actually makes it more appealing to get it to work. With serious will and the right people (Mark Evans means you know they’re serious), I’d back them in. It needs to be a long-term commitment though and I wouldn’t be reviewing their existence until at least 2030.

          • Roar Guru

            June 13th 2018 @ 8:35pm
            Cat said | June 13th 2018 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

            Tasmania may have the population overall but it is way too sparsely spread. Inorder to create one tassie team you have to weaken two existing clubs by first kicking them out. Hawthorn could survive it but it would hurt a lot but north would be in serious trouble again. Then there is the issue of sponsorship. In the proposal made before GC and GWS were created Tassie provide a single major sponsor (Mars) for $3m/yr which would not even have been half of what the worst club gets ($8m/yr Saints). Add to that Mars went on to sponsor Carlton and halfway through the deal pulled out and sponsors no one now. Tassie would be as big or bigger of a financial drain as the current expansion sides while also weakening two others and not providing anywhere near the media rights return.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 14th 2018 @ 8:04am
            Mattician6x6 said | June 14th 2018 @ 8:04am | ! Report

            How many of these great Tasmanians return at the end of their careers?
            Also junior participation is declining in Tassie while soccer is growing, GC is growing as is gws in footy participation.
            Lastly for a footy mad state I would think they’d have been able to keep the vfl side going or turn up to see two afl options because they love footy, allegiances shouldn’t matter.

    • Roar Guru

      June 13th 2018 @ 9:31am
      Paul Dawson said | June 13th 2018 @ 9:31am | ! Report

      The problem I think a lot of people make is that they start by trying to assess the Suns compared to a “normal” footballing outfit – for a normal club, Lynch deciding to pull up stumps would be disastrous, whereas for the Suns it’s just another aftershock in a club that increasingly resembles Christchurch CBD.

      The claim that it signals to his teammates there’s not much future to be had on the coast is debatable – certainly for a player like Bowes who’s from QLD it’s irrelevant that a Victorian goes home, whereas for players like Ainsworth, Scrimshaw and Brodie – perhaps not. This is a club that I feel is so much worse even than the Dees at their worst – that normality just doesn’t apply anymore given the players left are clearly numbed into senselessness and just going through the motions.

      As you say they have 3 options – at least according to the trade/draft framework that exists at the moment.

      – Draft a highly rated player from interstate who’ll probably wind up leaving anyway
      – Use free agency to trade but get ripped off because of player veto over trades, unless they can find someone who desperately wants to come to the Suns
      – Trade Lynch (now I’m not great on this but my understanding is that Lynch is a restricted free agent so all the Suns can do is match his deal? At which point he’d enter the draft and either wind up at Brisbane or Carlton, assuming the Suns didn’t draft him again. Doubt it). Anyways, I don’t see how the Suns can force a trade given Lynch is out of contract at the end of this year unless he signs a new one to give them some leverage, a bit like Schache did. But please correct me if I’m wrong on this.

      So out of those various unpalatable options you’ve gone with the first one, which I don’t think is a good idea, but then again none are great choices. I’d rather see them identify their best 10-15 kids, the vets they want to keep, cut everyone else and trade for solid experienced players either from other clubs or as someone said here yesterday, B&F winners from state leagues, guys who’ve got the right attitude and drive. Drop a bunch of them in for a few years and see what happens. I know from a queensland point of view a side that consisted of half a dozen mid-20’s journeymen rather than 6 more anonymous snotty nosed victorian kids with 2000 km umbilical cords would be more appealing and a better story for fans.

      Honestly you lost me when you said total rebuild, I mean, that’s basically what they’ve been doing for the last 8 years anyway. Basically you’re saying they should just tank the next 3-4 years and pray their players somehow become good – which I doubt they will – and claim that this is a “forward-looking” strategy that will deliver in 5 years time.

      Frankly, 5 more years of what has happened this season and they will cease to exist if the AFL gets tired of wasting money on them. The Suns aren’t a cultural problem, they’re an economic problem.

      The AFL set up a system whereby players were guaranteed high wages, increased over the space of 2 years the number of spots available in the AFL system by about 80 and so far as yet the talent has not expanded evenly across the competition to fill them all equally. The player veto over trades means that the elite talent that is available is less than the demand for it and therefore players who are good tend to conglomerate around each other at certain select clubs due to wanting to work in successful environments during the relatively brief period of their careers.

      The only players at the Suns are those who are compelled to be because they were drafted, those who are there but will leave as soon as they can, and those who’d like to leave but can’t get a job anywhere else because they’re not good enough to be picked up by any other club. The necessity of having a team on the Gold Coast and mandated employment ensures that the lower echelons of the 700 odd players on AFL lists fill out the Suns roster, as the Suns dollars simply aren’t worth what another club’s dollars are.

      They need a bigger salary cap or some other way to pay money to players to sign, because if the AFL allows another season to develop in QLD like the least 4-5 you have to wonder what on earth they’re being paid for down at AFL House, and how much money they’re prepared to waste up here to avoid offending the vested interests. You want this competition to be a national competition, you have to give every state a chance to succeed.

      • Roar Guru

        June 13th 2018 @ 10:17am
        JamesH said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        I think there are two things they should be focused on and – assuming he does want to go – Lynch isn’t one of them. Get the compo pick and move on. There is no ‘good’ outcome there, only different degrees of bad.

        As you say, there are dozens of quality players in State leagues who would kill for the opportunity to play AFL footy and would go anywhere to do it. Haiden Schloithe won the Sandover Medal in the WAFL last year and watched on while the likes of Tim Kelly and Mat Guelfi got drafted (both of whom have impressed). He’s a (almost) 25yo solidly built goal-kicking mid who is desperate for another chance – exactly the profile the Suns should be after. He’s just one example.

        The other thing they should focus on is bringing one or two experienced, finals-hardened leaders to the club the way Brisbane did with Hodge, perhaps with a coaching opportunity tied in. Not because they will dominate on the field but because this club could really do with a rudder on game day. Someone in the playing group who commands respect, who will set standards and bring young players along with them. Jarrod McVeigh and David Mundy are two who come to mind.

        This is something that the AFL could really help the Suns out with financially by allowing them to sit some of the payment to that player outside the salary cap. It’s a concession that other clubs would be unlikely to fuss over (although that isn’t necessarily important).

        • June 13th 2018 @ 4:55pm
          Floreat Pica said | June 13th 2018 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

          Totally agree with your call on maligned talent from state leagues- Collingwood’s second-gamer Mihocek is an obvious recent example of a player who fits such a profile.

          Given the opportunity, what 23-6 year-old state leaguer who is showing consistent talent but ‘missed their draft’ wouldn’t leap at such an opportunity and give their all to the Suns to live their dream at the top level?

          Sure, not all will make it, but there is no guarentee anyone drafted younger will make it too. Might help patch the short-term AND allow them to rebuild.

          • June 13th 2018 @ 5:31pm
            Slane said | June 13th 2018 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

            Kane Lambert has a premiership medallion.

      • Roar Guru

        June 13th 2018 @ 10:39am
        Cat said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        Just to clarify for you:

        If Lynch got an offer from another club and the Suns matched the offer, Lynch would be a contracted player and not eligible to nominate for the draft.

        Suns can also do what Adelaide did with Dangerfield, which is to threaten to match the offer then work out a trade, but I think the afl compo pick would likely be better than anything a club could offer. No club yet has been willing to actually match an offer for fear of having a contracted player who doesn’t want to be there. That’s why the whole RFA should be scrapped, it isn’t working.

        • Roar Guru

          June 13th 2018 @ 10:50am
          Col from Brissie said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

          Cat, Lynch’s current contract with the Suns is to the end of 2018. As a RFA, if the Suns match any offer from another club and Lynch does not want to stay at the Suns then his option is to go into the draft.

          • Roar Guru

            June 13th 2018 @ 1:02pm
            Cat said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

            Pay attention. If he accepts an offer from another team, that contract goes to the AFL who then give the Suns 3 days to match. If the Suns elected to match he is then a contracted player. That’s it. He would no longer be a free agent.
            Once that contract is lodged with the AFL Lynch doesn’t get to opt out of it if the Suns elect to match.
            If he does not sign any contract he goes into the preseason draft where he pre-nominates terms and he’ll end up at whomever ends up as wooden spooners (which could see him end up as a Sun again) unless they pass.

            • Roar Guru

              June 13th 2018 @ 1:09pm
              Paul Dawson said | June 13th 2018 @ 1:09pm | ! Report


              “Restricted free agents have the right to move to a club of their choice, subject to the current club’s right of first refusal over their services. That is, if the current club can ‘match’ the offer from a suitor club, the player must stay or enter the draft. .”

              That is what Col and I are saying. Honestly you’re such a prat when you’re wrong about something – Cox, now this, honestly you’d be better off just admitting you got it wrong and moving on

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 4:06pm
                Col from Brissie said | June 13th 2018 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

                Thanks Paul, I hope you paid attention Cat.

        • Roar Guru

          June 13th 2018 @ 11:03am
          Paul Dawson said | June 13th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          I think he can nominate for the draft as a RFA? If he doesn’t want to stay at the Suns he has go into the draft.

          Agreed though that the idea a club would actually match and force a player to stay is just that, and will never be reality

      • June 13th 2018 @ 10:52am
        GoSwans said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        So many mistakes have been made. The AFL need to put in some serious assistance. There’s some ideas that have been put out there that I like including priority picks and ambassador payments.

        After various tanking allegations the AFL tightened up the priority draft picks. I think they went too far. I think they need to bring back priority picks in the first round for any team that has not played finals in say five years. I’d give picks 2, 4, 6, 8 etc in order of how long out of finals. Priority picks worked for Hawthorn so if the drafting is good quality they will rise.

        Ambassador payments for their top players to help build more enthusiasm in their Academy and in the community would also help retention and compensate for the loss of opportunity compared to that in the AFL states.

        If they lose Lynch then I think trading a high compensation draft pick for lower ones is probably the way to go. This will load up the team with a demographic that will mature together in 3 to 4 years time. If they can get in some best and fairests from the State Leagues this might make it faster.

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