Gary Ablett Jnr Managed to finish third in Brownlow despite playing on 16 games. (Gold Coast Suns - Twitter)

Gary Ablett Jnr Managed to finish third in Brownlow despite playing on 16 games. (Gold Coast Suns - Twitter)

It’s Round 10, 2014.

The Gold Coast Suns are sitting comfortable in 3rd position on the ladder with an impressive 7-2 record.

The Suns are led by superstar Gary Ablett Jnr, who had won a Brownlow in 2013 with 28 votes beating out Joel Selwood and Dane Swan with 27 and 28 votes respectively.

It was round 10 where the Suns ladder position would be at it’s most impressive, and it’s after then it would take a major hit following round 10.

The Suns started to struggle. Only managing to win one game in the next five games; a win against top four candidate Geelong, but losing to bottom 10 teams in Adelaide and West Coast along with premiership contenders Sydney and Fremantle.

Tom Lynch had a breakout season in 2014. Image: Gold Coast Suns Twitter

Gary Ablett Jnr was in the midst of a career best season. Which is completely insane as Ablett had already won multiple Brownlow medals in 2009 and 2013.

He was averaging 32 possessions a game and had kicked 24 goals in just 15 games. Had amassed a staggering 22 votes by round 15.

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Round 16 had turned into a must win match for the Suns. It was another top 8 clash this time with Collingwood in sixth position four points ahead.

The game was very evenly posed through the first half. With Collingwood 6.8 (44) leading the Gold Coast 5.3 (33).

The second half started as well as the Suns could’ve imagined with Sam Day and Tom Lynch kicking the first two goals without reply.

The Suns continued to outplay the pies. However, nothing could’ve prepared them for what happened early in the third. Gary Ablett Jnr and Charlie Dixon endured season ending injuries.

The Suns were able to regroup and win the game.

“I don’t think it was our best win as far as the way we played, but our most courageous, clearly,” then-coach Guy Mckenna said.

It is impossible to replace a player like Ablett, but Gold Coast lack of depth was exposed in late parts of season. But they could never recover even with players like Prestia and Swallow.

Following the courageous win against Collingwood, Suns were able to only win one game in the next seven. With that win only coming against bottom of the ladder St Kilda.

The Suns’ promising start of season ended in a massively disappointing fashion. Starting 7 – 2 and then going 3 – 10 for the rest of season, resulting in 10 wins and 12 losses and 12th on the ladder come end of the season.

If we fast forward to the current day. The Suns still haven’t got any finals experience. Even though they have been in the AFL since 2011.

In the meantime, GWS have been to a grand final in that time and multiple preliminary finals; they joined the AFL in 2012 – a year after the Suns.

With former Richmond coach Damien Hardwick at the helm Gold Coast will be hoping to play finals in the 2024 season.

Damien Hardwick and the Suns will face his old side for the season opener at Heritage Bank Stadium on Saturday, March 9.

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