In the lead up the 2017 season, we will be assessing each club’s list and naming the best 22 for round one. Working our way up the ladder; following the analysis of Fremantle, the next cab off the rank is Gold Coast.
Zero Hanger 2017 ladder prediction: 16th.
Despite their poor showing in 2016, the Gold Coast Suns have a side that on paper looks like they could take it up to most teams in the competition in 2017. In my opinion they have the best group of key position plays in the competition. Rory Thompson and Steven May are rocks in defence, while Peter Wright and Sam Day are developing well in the forward line. Tom Lynch looks set to blow the competition apart in 2017 and if the Suns improve enough this year he will strongly contend for the Coleman Medal.
They obviously lost two future stars in O’Meara and Prestia, but they did their best in difficult circumstances to fill the void. Barlow, Lyons and Hanley will immediately improve their side and they brought in four draft picks inside the top 10 selections. Of those, Ben Ainsworth and Will Brodie both look like ready ready made AFL players, so they have made the best 22.
Depth has always been a big issue for Gold Coast and this is still the case in 2017. The best 22 looks strong, but as soon as they lose key players to injuries, as they have in the past two seasons, those coming in are unable to fill the void.
Having so many injuries last season has helped amend this as they were able to get games into their younger players. Jack Martin, Darcy MacPherson, Callum Ah Chee and Brayden Fiorini all benefited with more games and showed they can play. However, others such as Trent MacKenzie, Brandon Matera and Jarrod Grant showed they still need to improve. If they can finally have a season not ruined by injuries, they are capable of pushing much higher than our predicted 15th.
Projected Gold Coast 2017 round one best 22:
FB: Adam Saad, Rory Thompson, Kade Kolodjashnij
HB: Jarrad Harbrow, Steven May, Touk Miller
HF: Callum Ah Chee, Tom J. Lynch, Jarryd Lyons
FF: Sam Day, Peter Wright, Ben Ainsworth