Will 2024 be the year the Suns finally break into the finals frame?

New coach Damien Hardwick flagged that 80 per cent of the Gold Coast's first premiership side is already listed at the club, with some exciting draft additions pushing that percentage closer to 90.

The Suns were right in the finals mix during the second half of the season before falling short, with the addition of Hardwick and the continued development of their young core set to have September in the Queensland club's sights.

Gold Coast wasn't active in adding to their list through the trade and free agency space, instead placing a focus on attaining a quartet of Academy kids through the draft.

With a flurry of first-round picks - both new and old - on their list, the Suns are looking to soar into the top half of the competition under their new coach.

Here's how we see the Suns' best 23-man side taking shape in 2024...



1. Defenders

Hardwick's rearguard will be the area that needs the biggest lift if the Suns want to rise into the top eight, with a number of key cogs looking to play their best football in 2024.

Sam Collins will again be the focal point in Gold Coast's defence, while interceptor Charlie Ballard could again be in the All-Australian conversation after a breakout 2023 season.

Top 2021 draft selection Mac Andrew is continuing to develop nicely and will assist Ballard and Collins against key position forwards, while the reliable Wil Powell goes from strength to strength as a medium-sized backman.

Connor Budarick played two games this year after returning from an ACL injury and should assume a role in the back seven with a full pre-season under his belt.

AFL Rd 12 - Richmond v Gold Coast
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 17: Connor Budarick of the Suns is seen warming up during the round 12 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Gold Coast Suns at The Gabba on August 17, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Darcy Macpherson was a constant down back for the Suns this year after being placed on the periphery in years gone by.

Joel Jeffrey, Caleb Graham, Ben Long, Rory Atkins and Will Graham will look to break into the starting side as depth options for Hardwick to consider.