Gold Coast Suns captain Hannah Dunn has opened up on her new role in the upcoming AFLW season, with the skipper set to make the shift to defence.
Despite going winless in 2021, Dunn was a standout for the Suns in the midfield. The co-skipper led from the front with her work rate as both an inside and outside midfielder.
Regardless, the Suns have opted to change their structure in the offseason with Dunn noting that she’d been embracing her new role in defence at Captains’ Day on Tuesday.
Though she finds plenty of the ball, being one of a few players in the Suns midfield group to average double digit disposals per game last season, Dunn felt she played predominantly as a defensive midfielder, feeling that converting to a defender will suit her game.
“I’ve really enjoyed it actually [playing in the backline],” she told media on Tuesday.
“Previous to this I was in the midfield, [and] as a midfielder I played quite defensively… so it’s probably been a pretty good switch for me.
“Joycey [Suns coach Cameron Joyce] along with the other girls has identified our strengths and we’re playing to those strengths, so he sent me down back.”
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Having been appointed as co-captain alongside Sam Virgo in 2021, Dunn now faces the challenge of leading a young side as the sole captain in 2022 following Virgo’s retirement.
The change in the leadership structure at the club hasn’t phased Dunn, making no changes to her approach to footy off-field.
“Nothing’s changed, I’m not going to change my leadership style just purely because I’m on my own, we’ve sort of had a practice run against the Lions doing it by myself,” she said.
“Although the score wasn’t ideally what we would’ve hoped for, I think in terms of what we achieved from the other leaders on-field and other girls [it] made it quiet easy for me to lead.”
Set to take on the GWS Giants in Round 1 on Sunday, Dunn is expecting to be met with unfavourable January summer conditions. She’s hopeful that it will give a good account of the Suns’ season ahead after a winless 2021.
“Obviously Round 1 of any game is going to be hot, it’s going to be fast… it’s going to be exciting, there’s going to be a lot of nerves from both teams,” she said
“We’ve had such a long preseason and both teams will just want to get out there and play their brand of footy and you can expect good things from us Round 1.”
Suns coach Cameron Joyce also touched on the state of the squad heading into their season opener against the Giants.
Though he didn’t give too much away into what the best 21 will look like on Sunday, he noted that everyone in the squad was fit and available for selection.
“At this stage I think we’ll have full availability… our medical and high performance staff have done a great job in getting the girls fit and healthy which is great,” Joyce said.
“Understand the world we live in things can move and shape very quickly, but we’re hoping the girls will train tonight and also train Thursday leading into a captains run on Saturday, and fly into Mackay early Saturday afternoon to take on the Giants on Sunday.”
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