The AFL free agency period has officially begun, with Adelaide Crows defender Jake Kelly and Richmond Tigers tall Mabior Chol the first players to find new homes for 2022.
There weren’t many positives for the Gold Coast Suns to take out of season 2021 as they finished 16th on the ladder, with only seven wins for the season. They may have won four of the first 11 games, but ten of their 15 losses in season 2021 were by four goals or more, which was unacceptable.
They were unfortunate to lose their co-captain Jarrod Witts in Round 3 after suffering a season-ending knee injury.
To be eligible, it’s essential that each player selected featured in at least five games in season 2021. Here are the five players and an honourable mention selected, which the Suns could least afford to lose based on their performances in season 2021.
Honourable mention: Will Powell
Powell had a reasonable season for the Suns in 2021. He featured in every game and averaged the third most intercepts on average of any Suns player with an average of exactly six intercepts per game.
The fact that he averaged the fourth highest disposal efficiency percentage with an average of 80.86 percentage disposal efficiency per game indicated that he used the ball well. He finished second in the best and fairest for the Suns in season 2021, which shows that he is highly thought of by the coaching staff.
5. Jack Lukosius
Lukosius had the third most metres gained on average of any player in the competition in season 2021, with an average of 619.95 metres gained per game. He averaged the second most inside 50s of any Suns player in season 2021 with an average of exactly four per game.
4. Brandon Ellis
Ellis featured in 18 of 22 games for the Suns, despite the fact that in his 17th and 18th games in season 2021 he had a combined total of ten disposals, due to suffering a hamstring injury in Round 18 and again in Round 21. He was forced to be replaced by the substitute.
He proved to be a difficult player to replace as he averaged the third highest average disposals of any Suns player in season 2021 with an average of 23.50 per game. The Suns were a better team with him in it. He was a bit of a barometer for the Suns as they won all seven games when he was in the team.
3. Sam Collins
Collins was a pivotal part of the Suns structure. He had the most intercepts on average of any Suns player as he averaged exactly seven per game on average in the 19 games that he featured in. He had the third highest disposal efficiency percentage of any Suns player with an average of 82.07 per cent per game.
All of Gold Coast’s seven wins came in the 19 games that he featured in. Along with that, he averaged the third most contested marks of any Suns player with an average of 1.26 per game.
2. Hugh Greenwood
Greenwood featured in 15 of 22 games for the Suns in season 2021 and one of the 15 games that he featured in he suffered a knee injury and didn’t get a disposal in Round 17. When taking that into account, it’s incredible that he averaged the second most contested possessions of any Gold Coast player, with an average of 12.07 per game.
What was even more incredible was that he averaged the most clearances of any Suns player in season 2021 with an average of 6.20 per game. He also averaged the most centre clearances of any Suns player with an average of 2.27 centre clearances per game, which was more than Touk Miller!
Last but not least, Greenwood worked hard defensively, as he incredibly averaged the most tackles per game of anyone in the competition with an average of 8.6 per game, inclusive of Round 17, where he had none!
1. Touk Miller
Miller was a shining light for the Suns. He had 30 disposals or more in 16 games in a row, from Round 6 onwards. Unfortunately, he missed one of the two Q-Clashes, in Round 9, due to suspension and the Suns felt his absence, as they were obliterated by 73 points.
He has gained the respect that he deserves and has been rewarded with plenty of media hype surrounding his consistency. He led the Suns average score involvements with an average of 5.57 score involvements per game in season 2021.
Miller received recognition for his stellar season in 2021 as he was named on the interchange bench of the 2021 AFL All Australian team.