Rhyce Shaw's impact has been felt at Gold Coast. Picture: nmfc.com.au

Reigning Gold Coast Suns best and fairest winner Sam Collins has praised the immediate impact Rhyce Shaw has had with the club.

It has been a tough six months for former North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw, who stepped aside from his position at the helm of Arden Street due to mental health concerns at the end of last season. 

However, it seems a fresh start has brought new energy and enthusiasm to the 39-year-old who has begun a new journey up north with the Gold Coast Suns in a development role. 

Reigning best and fairest winner Sam Collins spoke to media after training today about the instant impact Shaw has had on the group. 

“Firstly he brings a great energy,” Collins said. 

“He has come in [to the club] and is stepping into the role beautifully, working as head of development the young guys are absolutely loving having him here.

“He’s got a wealth of knowledge but more importantly he is willing to impart that on all 48 of us.

“Just the way he has come in has been really special and the boys loving him here and he’s got a lot to teach us, so I’m excited to see what the next six weeks and beyond brings because we are going to learn so much from him.” 

With his knowledge and experience in the game already of high demand around the club, Collins has seen the effect Shaw has already had on one Irishman in particular. 

“I know Luke Towey off half back has been in his office pretty much every day, trying to get better and learning what he can [off Shaw],” he said. 

“Heaps of the boys are going up to him, asking questions and buying in and he’s got time for everyone so there’s going to be no shortage of learning coming from him.”

Having been back on the track as a full group for two weeks, Collins spoke highly of the condition of the players and position they are in heading into the season. 

“We are two weeks in and it’s gone quick but we have had a really good break and the boys have come back in good condition,” he said. 

“We’re loving being out here in pre season being able to focus on football and not running and getting ourselves flogged.

“Before Christmas in the offseason we put in the work and nailed that part, so now we can really enjoy what we love doing and that’s training with the balls out.”

As one of the leaders of club, Collins recognises the important role he has to play in harnessing the connection of this young group.

“There is a lot of new faces around but everyone is buying in and learning and developing,” he said. 

“As a group we are just trying to build that synergy between each other so that when the games come we know who’s going when and what to do in response to their movements on the field, 

“So if I can communicate and help educate it will make my job easier and as a backline that’s what we want to focus on, high organisation.” 

In terms of early standouts on the track, the first name that sprung to Collins’ mind will have Suns fans instantly excited. 

“Izak Rankine, he ran a great two kilometre time and he really put the hard work in over the break so to see him flourishing over pre season is going to be good and help him moving forward,” he said. 

“Caleb Graham in the backline is getting stronger in the gym, he’s putting PB’s out in there.

“So I think there’s heaps of new faces and everybody is bringing high energy and is improving together, there’s obviously been some standouts but as a collective group we have come back in a really mature way ready to attack the season.” 

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