Gold Coast Suns Season Review

Gold Coast Suns Season Review (Image: Gold Coast Suns)

The Suns' season appears underwhelming, but the return of key players and addressing key areas can change things quickly for the Gold Coast.

It wasn’t the season of progression that the Suns had hoped for as Stuart Dew’s side struggled with injuries from the beginning and were never able to recover.

An ACL injury to Suns co-captain, Jarrod Witts, was the most impactful for the club. Already down on tall players, Gold Coast was left to innovate with their ruckman position for most of the season. Long-term injuries to Matt Rowell, Hugh Greenwood, Lachie Weller, and Connor Budarick were also felt.

Despite finishing the year in 16th, the Suns managed seven wins including a 40-point demolition of the Swans in Round Six, as well as what felt like a monumental moment in the club’s history when they toppled flag holders, Richmond, in Round 16.  

What worked?

Defensively, the Suns have shown a lot of promise working hard to make sure that opposition forward 50 entries aren’t turned into scores.

Primarily through the likes of Jack Lukosius and Wil Powell, the Suns had more rebound 50’s than any other side in 2021.

In addition, their consistent pressure has left them second to minor premiers, Melbourne, in tackles made.  

What didn’t?

Whilst getting the ball out of their defence felt comfortable, the main challenge for the Suns was making successful entries into their own forward 50.

Already ranked 15th for inside 50 entries, marking the ball in that area was extremely difficult.

The Suns ranked last of any side for marks inside 50 in 2021, making it tough to turn the entries into scores.

Who impressed?

The standout player for Suns this season was Touk Miller, who took his game to a new level in 2021 and if it wasn’t for a suspension early in the season, he’d be amongst the Brownlow contenders.

Miller averaged 31.8 disposals per game as well as 22.8 effective disposals. In addition, an average of 7.1 tackles per game leaves Touk amongst the game’s elite.

Touk Miller celebrates a goal in Round 21 against Carlton (image: Gold Coast Suns)

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Season Highlight

After Sydney’s red hot start to the season, Stuart Dew’s men were up to the challenge as the two young sides battled it out in Round six at Metricon Stadium.

The Suns put a halt to the Swans hype as they blitzed their opposition, running away with a 40 point victory.

Ben King had a day out, taking home a nice bag of five goals as Touk Miller brought his own footy, amassing 36 disposals which included nine clearances and laying nine tackles.

Season Lowlight

Trying to avoid another second half of the season fade out, the Suns worst performance of the year came during a Round 20 meeting with Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

A disappointing day for the Suns in their attempts to close out their 2021 season with some respectable performances to build from in 2022. A 98-point loss to eventual minor premiers highlighted the gaping holes at the Gold Coast Suns.

The Suns allowed Melbourne’s tall forwards, Ben Brown and Luke Jackson to kick four goals apiece, whilst their gun midfielders, Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver ran riot, both finishing with over 30 disposals and a goal.

Chopping block?

Former pick nine, Will Brodie has struggled to break into the Gold Coast line-up in his five seasons at the club.

After what was reported to be a breakout pre-season before the 2021 season, Brodie failed the back up the hype. Brodie managed just the five games in 2021, of which two of those occasions he was used as a medical sub.  

Number one off-season priority

Figuring out the best way to support Ben King. Whether it be via the trade period or the draft, or either Josh Corbett or Joel Jeffreys stepping up. Ben King desperately needs a partner in crime to alleviate the attention he receives.

As a result, the Suns will be able to find more marks inside 50 and put on bigger scores.

Final Say

Overall, the Suns’ list has become very manageable and exciting. There’s a feeling that they only need to get a couple more things right before they start having a genuine impact on the competition and challenging for finals.

With a large percentage of their list 23-years-old or younger, there’s plenty of hope that the Suns can come good very soon, but will need to make some strides in season 2022 to avoid another potential player exodus come the end of the season.

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