18/04/2024

The Suns celebrate a goal in their Round 2 win over West Coast. (Photo: Gold Coast FC)

Courtney Jones celebrating with her Suns teammates. (Photo: Gold Coast Suns)

Courtney Jones made her Gold Coast Suns debut over the weekend in a 33-point win against the West Coast Eagles.

After missing out in Round 2 due to a knee injury, Jones set Metricon Stadium alight on Sunday evening, kicking two goals.

Speaking to The Inner Sanctum after the match, Jones said it was great to finally pull on the Suns’ guernsey for the first time.

“It was just insane,” Jones said.

“I was so disappointed not be able to be able to travel down south and play with the Suns last weekend, but I really appreciate the welcome that I’ve got to the club and the support I’ve gotten from the whole team.”

Kicking the two goals was just icing on the cake for Jones in what was a strong all-round performance.

“It’s always the cherry on top for a forward to kick goals,” she said.

“We really wanted to focus on inside 50 tackles if we didn’t get the ball, and I laid six tackles, which is a credit to everyone to be able to get it to ground and let me go to work.

“Those goals came off the back of the work rate of the midfield and the defenders to keep it down and all the other forwards to work with me and give me the opportunity to lead and lay tackles.”

The group is looking to really embed that team-wide pressure in season seven, which was evident in the win over the Eagles. Almost every Suns player laid at least one tackle.

After a disappointing loss to North Melbourne the week before, it was reassuring to see the game plan working effectively.

“I think we got roughly 60 tackles last week and we really wanted to build with that, and we ended up getting I think 85 by the end of the game,” Jones said.

“Which is just a credit to the girls who just didn’t give up on the chase, and [were] sticking tackles [with] relentless layers of pressure all throughout the game.”

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That pressure allowed the Suns to keep the ball inside forward 50 for majority of the game.

Which Jones said was a credit to the Suns defenders for pushing up and the midfield building the wall, giving the forwards the best chance to convert.

“That’s a testament to our backs pushing up and condensing the ground and then our mids building that wall and giving the opportunity for the forwards to have repeat entries,” she said.

“Just our talls in Giselle [Davies], Dupes [Jacqui Dupuy] and Tars [Tara Bohanna] just to be able to get it to ground and let our small medium forwards get to work as well.

 “Credit to Tara and Dupes, but obviously big shout out to Giselle. On debut, kicks a goal. [I’m] really proud of her, she’s put in a lot of hard work and she’s one of my favourite forwards.”

From just the scenes after the final siren had sounded, fans could tell how much the win meant to the Gold Coast Suns.

“It means so much, like we’ve put in so much hard work,” Jones said.

“Obviously we were disappointed coming out of Round 1. We thought we could have done a lot better, but we just wanted to stick to our team identity and really keep pressure on the ball.”

The Suns were dealt a huge blow during the match with Jamie Stanton going down with what has been confirmed to be an ACL injury.

Jones said that her teammates will be right behind her every step of the way.

“The whole group just knew that we needed to focus on the game at hand, a lot of tears after the game.

“Stanno [Stanton] is a huge part of not only the team, but the forward line. For me, coming in as a new player, she really stood up and looked after me and directed me in terms of how the Suns want to play and train.

“Even though she went down she was still in and amongst the forward line group directing, giving us as much encouragement as possible. [It was] really important and it’s just a credit to her character as a person and we’ll all be behind her.”

The Gold Coast Suns will face the Brisbane Lions in the Q Clash on Saturday evening at the Gabba.

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