during the round 12 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Gold Coast Suns at Spotless Stadium on June 9, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.

Following the signing of superstar Gary Ablett to a mix of quality mature-aged players and a blend of youth, there were high expectations on the Gold Coast Suns when they entered the AFL in 2011.

Sadly though, things haven’t turned out for the Suns. They have been a major disappointment and failed to make the finals every year since their inception and look like finishing near the bottom of the ladder again this season.

In fact, their highest ever finish was 12th in 2014. Many claim that Ablett’s season-ending shoulder injury in the Sun’s win against Collingwood in round 16 cost them a finals berth, but such a reliance on the dual Brownlow Medallist is a blight on the club.

At the start of the 2018 season there was much anticipation for the Suns. They had a new coach, Stuart Dew, who was highly respected around AFL circles and some quality young talent with the likes of Tom Lynch, Jack Martin, Sam Day and David Swallow.

They got off to a flyer with three wins in a row, and there was genuine excitement around the group and the fans and you couldn’t wipe the smile off Dew’s face.

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Since then it has all gone downhill for the Suns, who have lost nine games in a row and slumped to 15th on the ladder.

Despite a much improved effort on the weekend against the Saints where they only lost by two points, it doesn’t hide the fact that there are serious issues at the Suns.

Skipper Tom Lynch is out of contract at the end of the year and rumoured to want to return to Victoria, but the Suns can’t afford to lose him.

This spells disaster for the Suns and it shows that something is not right when players, let alone the captain, want to leave the club.

When the Suns suffered blowout losses to the Cats by 85 points and the Giants by 108 points in successive weeks during rounds 11 and 12, social media lit up and there were calls for the Suns to be kicked out of the competition.

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The AFL has since come out and backed the Suns in and are expecting the Gold Coast to be around for a long time to come.

The club clearly needs help and it wouldn’t hurt if Dew was given some extra support, potentially a senior assistant who has tasted premiership success like Paul Roos or Mick Malthouse.

The AFL also needs to do something to boost crowd numbers and grow the game in the Gold Coast; the crowds this year have been horrendous for the Suns.

The other alternative is that a struggling Victorian club like St Kilda or the Western Bulldogs could merge with the Suns, although this is highly unlikely.

Whatever the AFL decide to do, they must think wisely and have a good plan in place as the Suns can’t afford to lose any more big-name players, or more importantly, games of footy.

The Suns are in a big hole at the moment and there needs to be some serious digging to get them out of it.