Season 2022 shapes as a monumentally important year for the Gold Coast Suns, who have still never tasted post-season action even after 11 years of AFL assistance, as their prolonged state of mediocrity continues to ignite Tasmania relocation talks and results in the exits of young talent to rival teams.
Furthermore, out-of-contract senior coach Stuart Dew is once again in the hot seat, preparing to enter a make-or-break campaign that will either see him back at the helm again in 12 months' time or out of a job.
Over the course of the off-season, the Suns were praised for nabbing generational talent Mac Andrew at last November's draft, as well as luring free agent Mabior Chol and delisted free agents Charlie Constable and Levi Casboult to Carrara.
However, the club was lambasted for its handling of the Hugh Greenwood situation, which resulted in the hard-nosed midfielder's departure to Arden Street to play for North Melbourne. It was a questionable sequence of events to say the least, yet unsurprising, given these decisions were made by the same people who sent now-Lions midfielder Jarryd Lyons packing at the end of 2018.
The entire nation - yes, especially Tasmania - will have a close eye on the Suns in 2022 as they prepare to tee-off on their 12th campaign and fifth under the guidance of Dew.
Ins: Mac Andrew (National Draft), Sandy Brock (Academy), Levi Casboult (Rookie Draft, Carlton), Mabior Chol (Richmond), Charlie Constable (Geelong), James Tsitas (Supplemental Selection Period), Bodhi Uwland (Academy).
Outs: Will Brodie (Fremantle), Aiden Fyfe (delisted), Hugh Greenwood (North Melbourne), Jarrod Harbrow (retired), Jack Hombsch (retired), Jordan Murdoch (retired), Zac Smith (retired), Luke Towey (delisted), Jacob Townsend (delisted).
Gold Coast finished 16th on the ladder at the end of the 2021 season. It's the tenth time they've finished below 13th, with their 2014 12th-placed effort representing the best finish in the club's history to this point.
The Suns were competitive throughout the first month of the 2021 season, going 1-3 but losing by an average margin of just 15.3 points.
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However, the Suns then only managed to win three of their next ten games, losing by an average differential of 37.7 points.
Despite the numerous lows that came with the 2021 season, including another season-ending Matt Rowell injury, the Suns strung together two heart-stoppingly brilliant victories over reigning premiers Richmond and finals-hopeful GWS in what culminated a highlight fortnight of Gold Coast's season.
Albeit, the Suns' 2021 season theme was 'inconsistency'. After toppling the Tigers and Giants, the Suns went on to win just one of their final six contests, falling to an average tune of 62.6 points and slumping to an end-of-season record of 7-15.