The Gold Coast Suns have been gifted a much larger bounty than was widely expected, with the AFL today confirming an assistance package to give the Suns not one, but four priority picks over the next three drafts.
The Suns will receive pick 1 in this draft as a priority selection, giving them the first two picks overall, with which they are expected to draft close mates Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson.
However, the Suns will also receive a pick at the start of the second round of this year’s draft, which is currently pick 20, and priority picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts also.
The Suns will get a middle-of-first-round pick in 2020, which will be selection No.11, and another start-of-second-round pick in 2021, currently pick 19.
This leaves Gold Coast with four picks in the current top 20 for the 2019 AFL draft, with potentially more draft currency still to come in.
Gold Coast have also been given a significant boost in terms of their access to academy players.
The club will, for the next three years, be able to pre-list any academy players without needing to go through the bidding process in the draft.
This means talents like Jack Bowes, who joined the Suns via their academy three years ago, could potentially walk onto Gold Coast’s list without the club needing to pay a price for them in the draft.
The Suns will also have access to the Darwin region via their academy for the next three years, and allowed an expanded rookie list where they can hold up to ten players.
The AFL has stated that the assistance being provided to the Suns will be reviewed annually, and the league reserves the right to remove future assistance if it wishes to do so.
“There is no doubt the Gold Coast Suns have had enormous challenges throughout their short history and it is to the benefit of the entire competition that the Suns are competitive,” said AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon.
“The AFL and football fans want a strong and even competition, and while the endeavour and intent can’t be faulted by the Gold Coast Football Club, there have been executional challenges along the journey that have impacted the on-field competitiveness of the team.
“The club, led by Tony Cochrane and Mark Evans, will continue to build strength in the organisation and delivering on their football strategy is crucial to the club’s long-term success. The special assistance approved by the AFL Commission will contribute to this.
“While the package is set for three years to provide certainty to players, staff and the entire industry, the AFL Commission retains the right to remove future picks and / or academy access based on the club’s performance.”