2018 in a Nutshell
Pretty much anything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Suns in 2018. From playing a ‘home’ game against the Dockers at Optus Stadium to their star player and captain announcing mid-season he would leave the club, it was a genuine annus horribilus for Gold Coast.
The Tom Lynch saga played out like Chinese Water torture for the Suns. The want away star went through the façade of indecision, that each leaving free-agent is forced into, until injury brought an early end to his season and finally brought the answer everyone expected all year. After fighting a losing battle with injuries in 2016-17, the Suns again had their season cruelled by an extended casualty list. Lynch, Pearce Hanley, Peter Wright and Aaron Hall were just a number of Suns who missed large chunks of the season to injury.
Playing List 2019
1. Pearce Hanley, 2. Anthony Miles, 3. Jack Bowes, 4. Jack Martin, 5. Jarrod Harbrow, 6. Alex Sexton, 7. Will Brodie, 8. Braydon Fiorini, 9. Ben Ainsworth, 10. Charlie Ballard, 11. Touk Miller, 12. Sam Day, 13. Callum Ah Chee, 14. Lachie Weller, 15. Aaron Young, 16. Rory Thompson, 17. Corey Ellis, 18. Brad Scheer (Rookie), 19. Joshua Corbett, 20. Jack Hombsch, 21. Jack Leslie (Rookie), 22. Tom Nicholls, 23. Sean Lemmens, 24. David Swallow, 25. Sam Collins, 26. Harrison Wigg (Rookie), 27. Will Powell, 28, Jarrod Witts, 29. Chris Burgess, 30. Peter Wright, 31. Jordon Murdoch, 32. Braydon Crossley, 33. George Horlin-Smith, 34. Ben King, 35. Michael Rischitelli (Rookie), 36. Josh Schoenfeld, 37. Izak Rankine, 38. Jesse Joyce, 39. Nick Holman (Rookie), 40. Jacob Heron (Rookie), 41. Jack Lukosious, 42. Connor Nutting, 43. Jez McLennen, 44. Darcy McPherson, 45. Jacob Dawson (Rookie), 46. Caleb Graham.
INS: Corey Ellis (Richmond), Anthony Miles (Richmond), George Horlin-Smith (Geelong), Jack Hombsch (Port Adelaide), Jack Lukosius (Woodville West Torrens), Izak Rankine (West Torrens), Ben King (Sandringham Dragons), Jez McLennan (Central District), Caleb Graham (Gold Coast Academy).
OUTS: Aaron Hall, Kade Kolodashnij, Tom Lynch, Steven May, Jack Scrimshaw, Michael Barlow, Josh Jaska, Jack Leslie (redrafted as a rookie), Jesse Lonergan, Jarryd Lyons, Max Spencer, Mackenzie Willis, Matt Rosa.
Having found themselves near the foot of the table, the Suns have been handed return fixtures against all three fellow 2018 bottom four clubs, St Kilda, Brisbane and Carlton. By virtue of the fact that the Suns will complete another home and away season without playing on Friday night, they will have the fewest six day breaks in the competition in 2019.
After their nomadic start to the 2018 season, another positive is their six games at Metricon in the first 12 rounds of 2019. They will trade the comforts of the Gold Coast for a home game in Townsville though in Round 13, the first game for Premiership points in the North Queensland city. Just one game at the MCG would disappoint but they would be pleased to be finally done with their tour of duty in China.
Five Fearless Predictions
Suns to struggle but they’ll surprise teams
With betting agencies offering markets on whether or not the Suns will even taste victory in 2019, it is fair to say that expectations aren’t high for the expansion club. As David King will tell you, predicting a side to go through a season without a win comes back to bite you again and again and again. That reason alone suggests that the Suns will exceed expectations but so too does some of their 2018 performances. They won’t win many games but don’t be surprised if they claim a big scalp along the way.
They’ll be pencilling in a Saintly double
While many experts (and Saints supporters) would be expecting St Kilda to account for the Suns in Round One, rest assured Stuart Dew will have his team primed for their opportunity to claim an early victory. Against a fellow 2018 struggler, the Suns will give themselves every chance to open the year on the right foot.
In another quirk of the fixture, the next time they face the men from Moorabbin they will be ripe for the picking. Fresh from travelling to China, the Saints will need to travel to Townsville to face the Suns in Round 13. It could be a heavenly convergence of events for Gold Coast.
Hostility will be in the air in Rounds 8 and 16
The Suns will ‘welcome back’ their 2018 Captains in Round Eight and 16, when they host the Demons and Tigers respectively. Having seen their club act as little more than a transit lounge in their formative years, expect the Suns supporters to take the opportunity to let Stephen May and Tom Lynch know exactly what they think.
Pearce Hanley to remind us of his worth
Since moving down the M1 as a prized recruit from the Lions, Hanley has managed just 16 of a possible 44 games for Gold Coast. A highly damaging rebound defender, the Irishman looms as an important and steadying force for Stuart Dew and the Suns if he can get his body right.
Expect to see the Suns youngsters to get plenty of opportunities as Stuart Dew attempts to develop them for a rise up the ladder in years to come. Expect to see both Izak Rankine and Jack Lukosius to give an insight in what the future holds and earn Rising Star Nominations on the way.
Given the state of the Suns list after the exodus over the last few seasons, Stuart Dew has been wise not to put a number on how many wins would constitute a successful season for his club. Expect Gold Coast to be more competitive in 2019 but there is some hurt to come before things get better.
Gold Coast will finish bottom four again in 2019.
Enjoyed our Five Fearless Predictions for Gold Coast in 2019? Be sure to check out more of our AFL collection here. If you really like it, do us a favour and like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.