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'Empowered' Suns aim to break the cycle

After eight seasons in the AFL wilderness, the Gold Coast Suns have started again under second-year coach Stuart Dew as they aim to find success.

'Empowered' Suns aim to break the cycle

After eight seasons in the AFL wilderness, the Gold Coast Suns have started again under second-year coach Stuart Dew as they aim to find success.

Senior coach STUART DEW during a Gold Coast Suns AFL training session at Metricon Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia.
Senior coach STUART DEW during a Gold Coast Suns AFL training session at Metricon Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia. Picture:Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Stuart Dew's AFL overhaul on the Gold Coast has empowered him and his squad to do more than "tread water and float" again in 2019.

The Suns have made 25 changes on and off the field since their last AFL game, with co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May's departure for Melbourne clubs the most notable.


Dew has used those exits to clear the slate in an overhaul he hopes will "break the cycle" after eight seasons in the league with a best finish of 12th.

Stocking his side with mature-age picks, fringe talent from rival AFL clubs and a handful of exciting draft prospects, Dew believes he has assembled a playing group with less star power but greater depth and physicality.

"We were pretty deliberate in our reset of the footy department and playing list," he told AAP.

"So there's plenty of optimism ... I know there's some skepticism out there but we see this as the only way for longevity of success.

"I don't think it's risky ... when you're in it and you've got good support it's actually quite empowering."

Delisting Michael Barlow and allowing Jarryd Lyons to head to Brisbane raised eyebrows and the bookies have set laughable odds on a Gold Coast flag this season.

But Dew is confident he has the pieces he needs to complete the jig-saw, albeit slowly, at Metricon Stadium.

"Every team's in a different position," he explained.

"We'll get players from other clubs that fit our needs and others might leave and be better in different systems.

"Everyone's shuffling ... we could tread water and float again but we see this as a way forward."

There has been a clear buy-in from the squad, with re-signed trio Jarrod Witts, Touk Miller and David Swallow providing rare security in leadership.

That will be refreshing after back-to-back years of "will he stay or will he go", when Gary Ablett and then Lynch spent their final seasons on the Gold Coast with one foot out the door.

Things have started well too, with wins against Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs in pre-season trials.

New faces in top three draft picks Izak Rankine and Jack Lukosius have impressed while Jack Bowes, Callum Ah Chee and Wil Powell are among the returning brigade to make statements too.

"There's a great energy around the place," Dew said.

"They're all very personable.

"The staff have commented about how they are all humble, want to work hard and are really coachable.

"It's been a breath of fresh air with different personalities; we want to encourage guys to be themselves.

"Forty-six robots walking around the club makes for a dull day."

So how will it all translate on the field?

Predictably, Dew won't put a number on what constitutes a successful season.

But the picture should be clearer a month into the season, once they have played St Kilda, Fremantle, Western Bulldogs and Carlton.

"You don't want to get seduced by the results," Dew said.

"We're going to have to be judged over a bigger body of work.

"Win or lose round one, it doesn't mean it's fixed or down the gurgler."

GOLD COAST

Coach: Stuart Dew

Captains: David Swallow and Jarrod Witts

Last five years: 17-17-15-16

Premierships: 0.

Key five: David Swallow, Peter Wright, Sam Day, Lachie Weller, Jack Martin.

One to watch: Izak Rankine. The third pick in last year's draft has already turned heads in his limited preseason opportunities due to his knack for a flashy goal. In a team in desperate need of game-breakers, Rankine fits the bill.

Ins: Corey Ellis (Richmond), Anthony Miles (Richmond), George Horlin-Smith (Geelong), Jack Hombsch (Port Adelaide), Jack Lukosius (Woodville West Torrens), Izak Rankine (Woodville West Torrens), Ben King (Sandringham Dragons), Jez McLennan (Central District), Caleb Graham (Gold Coast Academy).

Outs: Aaron Hall (North Melbourne), Kade Kolodashnij (Melbourne), Tom Lynch (Richmond), Steven May (Melbourne), Jarryd Lyons (Brisbane), Jack Scrimshaw (Hawthorn), Michael Barlow (delisted), Matt Rosa (delisted) Jesse Lonergan (delisted).

Best line-up:

B: Jesse Joyce, Rory Thompson, Sam Collins

HB: Pearce Hanley, Jack Hombsch, Jarrod Harbrow

C: Lachie Weller, David Swallow, Callum Ah Chee

HF: Sean Lemmens, Sam Day, Jack Martin

F: Aaron Young, Peter Wright, Alex Sexton

R: Jarrod Witts, Touk Miller, Anthony Miles

I: Ben Ainsworth, Izak Rankine, Jack Bowes, Brayden Fiorini

Predicted finish: 18th

AAP


AAP




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