Gold Coast Suns
The Gold Coast Suns are an Australian rules football club based on the Gold Coast, Queensland, which began playing in the Australian Football League (AFL) competition for the first time in 2011. The club played its first game as a part of the AFL in the pre-season NAB Cup competition in February 2011 before beginning the season proper in April 2011.
|Gold Coast Suns|
|Full name||Gold Coast Suns|
|Leading goalkicker||Alex Sexton (28 goals)|
|Gold Coast Suns Club Champion||Jarrod Harbrow|
|Competition||Australian Football League|
|Ground(s)||Metricon Stadium (capacity: 25,000)|
|Former ground(s)||The Gabba (2011)|
|Training ground(s)||Metricon Stadium / |
Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre
The club is the product of a sole consortium, formerly known as "GC17", tendering against established criteria for a licence to be the 17th club in the AFL competition. On 31 March 2009 the club was granted a provisional licence to join the AFL competition and the AFL proposed that the new club would enter the national competition in the 2011 season. The following year, during a press conference on 22 July, the club announced its new nickname, logo, club song and three new home, away and clash guernseys.
In January 2008, it was reported that the AFL officially registered the name Gold Coast Football Club Ltd with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The registration was effective from 24 December 2007. In March 2008, the AFL won the support of the league's 16 club presidents to establish a side on the Gold Coast and an 18th side in Western Sydney.
AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou announced in early 2008 that the club could debut in the Queensland State League in 2009 as it recruits players and prepares for its debut season in the AFL. Amongst the first players targeted by the Gold Coast were former St Kilda captain and Gold Coast junior Nick Riewoldt, Hawthorn forward and 2008 Coleman Medallist Lance Franklin and Adelaide forward Kurt Tippett. They did not end up with any of them.
Guy McKenna was appointed coach in August 2008. In early 2009, the Host Plus superannuation fund was named as the club's major sponsor.  On 15 May 2009, it was announced that highly respected Essendon administrator Travis Auld would be the CEO of "GC17". Former Brisbane Lions Shaun Hart and Gold Coaster Marcus Ashcroft were also appointed to the coaching panel. On 1 October 2009, the club announced it had signed Guy McKenna as head coach until 2012.
In early 2009, the Queensland Government announced that it would contribute sufficient funds allowing the redevelopment of Gold Coast Stadium. The redevelopment of Carrara Stadium cost $144.2 million to complete and housed 25,000 spectators with the capability to host an additional 15,000 temporary seats. Their first game at the new stadium was against Geelong in round 10, 2011 after hosting their first few home matches, including their first ever match against Carlton, at the Gabba.
2009: TAC CupEdit
The club's junior squad competed in the 2009 TAC Cup under 18 competition winning a number of games, eventually finishing in 5th place. They defeated the Northern Knights in the elimination final but then lost their semi final to the Geelong Falcons. Below is the inaugural TAC Cup team to play for the Gold Coast Football Club, as well as a table of results and fixture for the 2009 and 2010 seasons:
Inaugural TAC Cup teamEdit
|Inaugural GC17 team (Round 1, 2009 season)|
|B:||Hamish Watts||James Nelis||Daniel Ramage|
|HB:||Jake Crawford||Matt Storey||Jesse Haberfield|
|C:||Joseph Daye||Josh Thomas||Todd Grayson|
|HF:||Taylor Rolfe||Matt Fowler||Luke Shreeve|
|F:||Rory Thompson||Liam Rutledge||Alik Magin|
|Foll:||Zac Smith||Marc Lock (c)||Mitch Harley|
|Int:||Declan Bevan||Brad Rees||Jack Stanlake|
|Nick Price||Tyler Green|
|Gold Coast Season 2009|
In November 2009 the team signed twelve 17-year-olds around the country to compete in the Victorian Football League (VFL) year through the under age access rules. These players included Luke Russell (Burnie), Maverick Weller (Burnie), Taylor Hine (Calder), Josh Toy (Calder), Matt Shaw (Dandenong), Piers Flanagan (Geelong), Hayden Jolly (Glenelg), Alex Keath (Murray), Jack Hutchins (Sandringham), Tom Nicholls (Sandringham), Brandon Matera (South Fremantle), Trent McKenzie (Western Jets).
The Gold Coast was also given permission (by the AFL) to play David Swallow in 2010, despite not being the correct age. The deal that was struck with the AFL stated that Swallow would still need to go through the 2010 AFL Draft to officially join the team, while the other under age recruits contracts would run through 2011.
Inaugural VFL teamEdit
|Inaugural GCFC team (Round 1, 2010 season)|
|B:||Matt Shaw||Jack Hutchins||Michael Gugliotta|
|HB:||Taylor Hine||Michael Coad||Maverick Weller|
|C:||Trent McKenzie||Marc Lock (c)||Luke Russell|
|HF:||Alik Magin||Charlie Dixon||Brandon Matera|
|F:||Liam Patrick||Nathan Ablett||Rex Liddy|
|Foll:||Zac Smith||Daniel Harris||Sam Iles|
|Int:||Danny Stanley||Rory Thompson||Hayden Jolly|
|David Swallow||Luke Shreeve||Joseph Daye|
|Gold Coast Season 2010|
2011: AFL debutEdit
Concessions on entry into the AFLEdit
|Year||Draft Picks||Senior List Size||Salary Cap Allowance||Zone Access||Notes|
|2009||-||-||-||20 QLD||The club was granted access to twenty 17-year-old Queensland players who were eligible for the 2009 AFL Draft. The team competed in the under 18 TAC Cup competition in 2009.|
|The club was allowed to sign up to twelve 17-year-olds born between 1 January and 30 April 1992. The club also received the first 5 picks in the rookie draft. The team competed in the Victorian Football League competition in 2010.|
|2011||1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 26, 43||48||$1,000,000 extra||5 QLD||At the conclusion of the 2010 season the club was able to sign up to 16 current AFL players who were uncontracted for the 2011 season. The club was also allowed to sign up to 10 players who had previously elected for the national draft and weren't selected.|
|2012||AFL Standard||46||$800,000 extra||5 QLD||-|
|2013||AFL Standard||42||$600,000 extra||AFL Standard||-|
|2014||AFL Standard||40||$400,000 extra||AFL Standard||-|
|2015||AFL Standard||AFL Standard||AFL Standard||AFL Standard||All concessions removed and the club operates like every other team in the AFL.|
Players acquired through concessionsEdit
|QLD Zone Access||Joseph Daye (2009), Charlie Dixon (2009), Jesse Haberfield (2009), Tom Hickey (2010), |
Rex Liddy (2010), Marc Lock (2009), Lewis Moss (2010), Zac Smith (2009),
Jack Stanlake (2009), Jack Stanley (2009), Rory Thompson (2009), Joel Wilkinson (2010).
|NT Zone Access||Steven May (2010), Liam Patrick (2009).|
|2009 Rookie Selections||Daniel Harris (1), Michael Coad (2), Sam Iles (3), Roland Ah Chee (4), |
Danny Stanley (5).
|2009 Underage Selections||Piers Flanagan, Taylor Hine, Jack Hutchins, Hayden Jolly, Brandon Matera, |
Trent McKenzie, Tom Nicholls, Luke Russell, Matt Shaw, Josh Toy,
|2010 Off Contract Signings||Gary Ablett Jr, Nathan Bock, Jared Brennan, Campbell Brown, Josh Fraser, |
Jarrod Harbrow, Nathan Krakouer, Michael Rischitelli.
|2010 Draft Selections||David Swallow (1), Harley Bennell (2), Sam Day (3), Josh Caddy (7), Dion Prestia (9), |
Daniel Gorringe (10), Tom Lynch (11), Seb Tape (13).
Inaugural AFL teamEdit
|Inaugural Gold Coast team (Round 2, 2011 season)|
|B:||Seb Tape||Nathan Bock||Campbell Brown|
|HB:||Jarrod Harbrow||Karmichael Hunt||Nathan Krakouer|
|C:||Trent McKenzie||Daniel Harris||Michael Rischitelli|
|HF:||Danny Stanley||Charlie Dixon||Alik Magin|
|F:||Jared Brennan||Zac Smith||Brandon Matera|
|Foll:||Josh Fraser||David Swallow||Gary Ablett (c)|
|Int:||Marc Lock||Harley Bennell||Dion Prestia|
2011–2014: McKenna eraEdit
Guy McKenna would continue to coach the team throughout the 2011 season and beyond, after successfully guiding the club through its journey in the TAC Cup and VFL in 2009 and 2010. The Suns would play their first four "home" games of the 2011 AFL season at the Gabba in Brisbane, whilst their home stadium (Metricon Stadium) underwent final redevelopment works.
Gold Coast had a bye in Round 1, and played its first AFL game debuted in Round 2 on 2 April 2011 against Carlton at the Gabba in front of a crowd of 27,914. The first five goals were scored by Carlton, before Charlie Dixon scored the first-ever goal for the Gold Coast Suns. Carlton went on to win by 119 points. Gold Coast won its first game in Round 5 on 23 April 2011, defeating Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium. Gold Coast trailed by 40 points late in the third quarter, before coming back to win by three points, after Port Adelaide's Justin Westhoff missed a set shot after the siren. Michael Rischitelli was the best on ground. Gold Coast won two more matches for the season, winning the inaugural QClash against Brisbane Lions in Round 7 by eight points, and defeating Richmond by 15 points in Round 17 in the first AFL match ever played at Cazaly's Stadium in Cairns. However, the Suns also suffered several more very heavy defeats during the year, including a 139-point loss to Essendon in Round 6 – in which Essendon scored a record 15.4 (94) in the first quarter – and a 150-point loss against Geelong in Round 20. The Suns went on to win the wooden spoon.
Gold Coast endured a poor pre-season in 2012 which included a 13-point loss to fellow AFL newcomers Greater Western Sydney. Their solitary win in that time was a narrow win over Melbourne in the triangular round of the 2012 NAB Cup.
The home-and-away season did not begin well for the Suns either, losing their first fourteen matches in succession to be the only winless team after Round 15 of the 2012 AFL season. Among the losses included losses by more than ninety points to Collingwood and St Kilda (twice), seven-point losses to Fremantle and North Melbourne at home and a 27-point loss to the newest AFL franchise, Greater Western Sydney. Their fourteen losses to start the season was the worst by any team since Fremantle lost its first 17 matches of the 2001 season. Their horror start to the season ended in round 16 with a narrow 2-point win against Richmond. They had a lead of up to 36 points halfway through the second quarter, which then shrank to 24 points after 2 quick goals before half time from Richmond. Richmond then had a six to two goal quarter, snatching the lead back. The lead then went to 18 points Richmond's way before Gold Coast snatched it back to just 4. With 5 seconds left, a kick from the right forward pocket in Gold Coast's 50 was marked by Karmichael Hunt. After the siren sounded he kicked the goal to make Gold Coast 2 point winners.
The Suns then won two more matches for the season, a 30-point win against Greater Western Sydney in Round 20 and a 12-point upset win over Carlton in Round 22, both at home. The team finished 17th at the end of the season, only above Greater Western Sydney on the AFL ladder. In November 2012 the club announced their "20-ONE-3" plan that targeted signing twenty thousand members and winning a premiership within three years - by the conclusion of the 2015 AFL season. The plan was criticised as being overly ambitious. By the end of the 20-ONE-3 period, the Suns had a highest membership of 13,643 (achieved in 2015) and a highest ladder position of 12 (10 wins - achieved in 2014).
In the 2013 AFL season Gold Coast made a much improved effort, highlighted by victories over seasoned opponents in Collingwood, St Kilda, the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne. Their improvement on the past two seasons was so stark that they were considered possibilities of securing an unlikely finals berth up until the final round after Essendon lost all their premiership points. The Suns finished with 8 wins for the season and ended the season placed 14th on the ladder. Captain Gary Ablett won his second Brownlow Medal, the first such medalist to win the award at the club.
Despite losing veterans Jared Brennan and Campbell Brown ahead of the 2014 season, some experts predicted Gold Coast to "give the top 8 (finals) a nudge", though the general consensus was that the Suns would likely finish around 13th. Though beginning the season promisingly and entering Round 11 with a 7–2 record following impressive wins on the road against Melbourne, North Melbourne (who had defeated minor premiers Sydney three weeks earlier), and St Kilda, the Suns would stumble severely through the second half of the season. After captain Gary Ablett was injured in a win over Collingwood in round 16, the club went on to lose the next two matches, including one in the QClash against Brisbane. In round 19, the club recorded its inaugural win without their captain, defeating St Kilda. The club went on to lose the remaining matches of the season, finishing in 12th. Inaugural coach Guy McKenna was sacked at season's end, leaving the club after 88 games in charge and winning just over 25% of them.
|Capacity||25,000 (23,500 seats)|
|Field size||171 x 144 metres|
Gold Coast began playing at Carrara Stadium in their foundation year of 2009. Although the ground had existed since 1987, the Gold Coast Football Club's establishment in late 2008 prompted the club to use the stadium as their home ground during the 2009 TAC Cup. The ground opened in 1987 and was used by the Brisbane Bears for the first six years of existence and was later used by the North Melbourne Kangaroos and several professional Rugby league teams.
The insufficient and outdated facilities at Carrara Stadium led to the Australian Football League investigating several stadium options for the Gold Coast's inaugural AFL season in 2011. A new $172 million stadium in Helensvale was a strongly considered option. The AFL eventually brokered a deal with the Gold Coast City Council and the Queensland Government to redevelop Carrara Stadium. The $144.2 million upgrade would increase the stadium capacity to 25,000.
Construction for the redevelopment of Carrara Stadium began in December 2009 and the Gold Coast was required to find a new home ground for the 2010 VFL season. The team shared their games among local grounds Fankhauser Reserve, H & A Oval and Cooke-Murphy Oval. The redevelopment ran into the 2011 AFL season and the Gold Coast were again required to find a temporary home ground. The Suns elected to use the Gabba for their first three home games of the 2011 season.
The redeveloped Carrara Stadium (commercially known as Metricon Stadium) was officially opened on 22 May 2011 by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. Six days later the Gold Coast Suns hosted their first home match at the redeveloped Carrara Stadium against the Geelong Cats in front of a sell out crowd. Two months later, the Suns attracted the largest crowd ever at the Carrara Stadium in a game against Collingwood that attracted an attendance of 23,302, a record broken in round 16 of 2014 when 24,032 attended also against Collingwood.
The stadium will once again be upgraded in 2018 to a seating capacity of 40,000 as part of the Gold Coast's successful bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Membership base and sponsorshipEdit
|Year||Members||Change from previous season||Finishing position||Average home crowd
|Profit (Loss)||Major Sponsor|
|2011||14,064||—||17th||19,169||Undisclosed profit||HOSTPLUS, Virgin Australia|
|2012||11,204||2,860||17th||13,645||($1,401,168)||HOSTPLUS, Virgin Australia|
|2013||12,502||1,298||14th||13,907||$62,533||HOSTPLUS, Virgin Australia|
|2014||13,478||976||12th||16,092||$1,062,082||Fiat Automobiles, HOSTPLUS|
|2015||13,643||165||16th||12,360||($330,870)||Fiat Automobiles, HOSTPLUS|
|2016||12,854||789||15th||11,561||($2,941,965)||Fiat Automobiles, HOSTPLUS|
– ¹ as of 3 September 2018
The three types of guernseys are:
- Home guernsey (worn since 2011): Red and gold based guernsey with the club logo in the middle. HostPlus sponsor on front and Fiat sponsor on back (home shorts worn in home games and away pants shorts in away games).
- Away guernsey (worn since 2011): Red based guernsey with a wave, coloured blue, gold and white. Fiat sponsor on front and HOSTPLUS sponsor on back (away shorts worn).
- Clash guernsey (worn since 2016): White based guernsey with an arrow-shaped design which goes down to the bottom, coloured blue, gold and two shades of grey. Fiat sponsor on front and HOSTPLUS sponsor on back (away shorts worn).
A three-man committee of former Brisbane Lions chairman Graham Downie, Southport Sharks director Alan Mackenzie and lawyer and community leader John Witheriff established the club's administration. As part of the AFL bid criteria, the GC17 consortium required a commitment from 20,000 locals to become football club members, a $5 million net asset base and 111 sponsors (at least one major, 10 secondary level and 100 tertiary) by mid-October 2008.
In the leadup to the 2009 AFL Draft, the AFL allowed the Gold Coast to recruit 12 players born between January and April 1992, with all other AFL clubs being restricted to players born in 1991 or earlier.
Karmichael Hunt, a former professional rugby league footballer with the Brisbane Broncos and rugby union side Biarritz Olympique in France's Top 14, was signed to swap codes to play for the Gold Coast from 2010.
Gary Ablett, Jr., dual premiership player with Geelong and winner of the 2009 Brownlow Medal, signed a deal reportedly worth $9.6 million over five years to captain the Gold Coast during their starting years.
Other significant signings to the current junior team that played in the VFL included Stanis Susuve (a member of Papua New Guinea's International Cup winning team) and Brandon Matera (whose father Wally Matera and uncles Peter and Phil all played senior AFL football with the West Coast Eagles).
At the end of 2010 season, the club had been given the following concessions:
- The ability to sign one uncontracted player from each of the 16 AFL clubs
- Zoned access to five Queensland players prior to the AFL draft
- The first pick in every round plus additional first round picks at Numbers 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 and 15 of the 2010 AFL Draft
- The capacity to pre-list 10 players who had previously nominated for the AFL Draft, or were previously listed with an AFL club
- The first five selections of the Rookie Draft
- An expanded main list of 48 players (clubs are usually allowed 38)
Initial 2011 playing squad recruitmentEdit
Nathan bull #69
- Senior coach:
- Assistant coaches:
- Development coach:
- Coaching advisor:
- NEAFL coach
- Stephen Daniel
Click here for more information on Gold Coast's coaching staff
The Gold Coast Suns have fielded a reserves team beneath the AFL team in the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) competition since 2011. The reserves team has been reasonably competitive, qualifying for finals on two out of four occasions, notwithstanding a disastrous 2014 campaign which saw the team fail to win a match all season.
|Season||Win-Loss||Ladder position||Finals result||Best & Fairest|
|2012||9-9||5th||Elimination final||Alik Magin|
|2016||8-10||6th||Elimination Final||Keegan Brooksby|
|2017||10-8||4th||Preliminary Final||Darcy Macpherson|
- Finalists: 2009
- Premierships (0):
- Runners-Up (0):
- Minor Premiership (0):
- Finals Series Appearances (0):
- Wooden Spoons (1): 2011
- Premierships (0):
- Runners-Up (0):
- Minor Premiership (0):
- Finals Series Appearances (4): 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017
- Wooden Spoons (1): 2014
Match and season recordsEdit
- Highest score: Gold Coast 21.22 (148) v Greater Western Sydney 16.8 (104), Round 5, 2013, StarTrack Oval
- Lowest score: Gold Coast 3.2 (20) v Port Adelaide 20.15 (135), Round 23, 2017, Adelaide Oval
- Lowest winning score: Gold Coast 12.13 (85) v Richmond 9.16 (70), Round 17, 2011, Cazaly's Stadium
- Greatest winning margin: 86 points – Gold Coast 21.13 (139) v Hawthorn 7.11 (53), Round 3, 2017, Metricon Stadium
- Greatest losing margin: 150 points – Gold Coast 6.2 (38) v Geelong 29.14 (188), Round 20, 2011, Kardinia Park
- Longest winning streak: 5 (round 5, 2014 – round 10, 2014)
- Longest losing streak: 21 (round 18, 2011 – round 15, 2012)
- Highest ladder position (end of round): 2nd – round 3, 2016
- Highest ladder position (end of season): 12th of 18th, 2014 AFL season
- Lowest ladder position (end of season): 17th of 17th (Wooden Spoon), 2011 AFL season
AFL finishing positions (2011–present)Edit
|Finishing Position||Year (Finals in Bold)||Tally|
|17th||2011, 2012, 2017, 2018||4|
Suns TV was a television program hosted by Jessica Skarratt that was carried by the Seven Network and was shown thirty minutes prior to Gold Coast Suns games in Queensland. The program featured highlights as well as interviews with players and coaches in the lead up to the match being played that week. It was no longer shown on TV as of 2015.
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- Attendance Summary
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- Gold Coast Football Club 2014 Annual Report
- Gold Coast Football Club 2015 Annual Report
- Gold Coast Football Club 2017 Annual Report
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