Gold Coast prepares to commence a new – and hopefully more successful –
era following its acquisition of Damien Hardwick as the club's new senior coach.

Hardwick, a three-time flag-winning mentor with Richmond, departed his Punt Road post in Round 10 last season before assuming Gold Coast's lead position from the dismissed Stuart Dew.

Poetically, the Suns will kickstart the Hardwick era when they welcome the Tigers to Heritage Bank Stadium in the AFL's maiden Opening Round.

2024 expectations

Welcoming a quintet of Academy graduates – Jed Walter, Ethan Read, Jake Rogers, and Will Graham – at last November's National Draft, in conjunction with Hardwick's grand entrance, has resulted in a substantially more positive outlook at Carrara this year.

Despite never previously qualifying for September football throughout their thus-far torrid tenure in the AFL, the Suns appear a decent chance of bucking that drearily long-running trend in 2024. Gold Coast went under the radar during last October's player movement period pertaining to imports; recruiting just ex-Kangaroo Jack Mahony and former Werribee Tiger Sam Clohesy.

For the full preview download Zero Hanger's FREE 2024 AFL Season Guide.

It's irrefutable that Gold Coast enhanced its list this past off-season, adding exhilarating youth to a squad that already boasts a slew of burgeoning youngsters.

Thus, a push for the finals at the business end of this season should be an expectation.

Star Player: Noah Anderson

While the heroic stature of co-captain Touk Miller is difficult to overlook, the 22-year-old Anderson emerged as Gold Coast's most-prized asset last season.

The Oakleigh Chargers graduate led all Suns last season in disposals (26.9 per game), inside 50s (4.8), centre clearances (2.7), score involvements (6.4), and coaches' votes (76 – for context, Matt Rowell's 57 was next- best), while playing in all 23 of Gold Coast's outings.

In comparison with midfielders competition-wide, Anderson's total clearances and stoppage clearances figures rated elite (among the top ten per cent of AFL onballers), as did his average of ten effective kicks per game.

Put simply, at the face of the contest, Anderson is near-unmatched. Another tremendous campaign in 2024 will be required from the 81-gamer if his Suns are to stage a serious top-eight assault.

To read the full Gold Coast preview - including player profiles, the must-watch matches, full club-by-club fixtures, player records, best 23s and HEAPS more - download Zero Hanger's FREE 2024 AFL Season Guide.