UNDER new coach Cameron Joyce, the Gold Coast Suns started to show life in the AFL Women’s after a disappointing season the year before. With a bunch of young talents joining some experienced heads, the Suns even looked like making finals at one stage, before fading off the pace and finishing 10 points adrift of sixth. Still, the Suns were more than competitive, and will have even bigger expectations on them, especially with a stronger Academy program this year.
AFLW DRAFT PICKS: 19, 34, 53, 69, 81, 87 | QLD DRAFT POOL: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9
Gold Coast lost seven players to expansion, with five of them going to Port Adelaide during the off-season. Hannah Dunn, Brittany Perry and Cheyenne Hammond have all played footy in the City of Churches before, and they were joined in the teal by Kate Surman and Jacqui Yorston. Also having played in their new digs, former Hawks Janet Baird and Sarah Perkins headed back to join Bec Goddard at Hawthorn. The Suns did manage to replace one of the departing forwards though, picking up Carlton talent Courtney Jones late in the off-season.
Gold Coast has one of the easiest first choices in the AFL Women’s Draft despite it coming at Pick 19 overall. The Suns will pick first in the Queensland Draft Pool, and have access to their Academy talents. It will shock absolutely no one when they read out Queensland Most Valuable Player (MVP) and AFLW Academy member Alana Gee‘s name first. She has pieced together an outstanding junior career, and had a huge 2022 where she was also named on the wing in the All-Australian team. A very easy first selection for the Suns.
Also boasting the second selection in the AFL Women’s Draft, that is expected to be speedy midfielder/forward Jasmyn Smith. The Bond University talent lead the clearances at the AFLW Under 18 Championships this year and has come along in leaps and bounds. Top ruck/forward prospect Fleur Davies will nominate NSW-ACT so the Suns will miss out on the chance of her joining her sister Giselle at the club, but might look for more experienced talents down south. The Suns have a history of picking up players from state leagues, especially the VFLW, so might turn to Lucy Schneider, Amelia Radford or Sophia McCarthy who are all mature-age, readymade talents. Gold Coast Academy captain Imogen Evans is another terrific talent who should be playing AFLW next season.
Gold Coast is in a good position heading into the 2022 AFL Women’s Draft, with a number of high selections in the Queensland draft pool to replace those who have departed. Their Academy is a strong one, and they can replenish their midfield in particular. Though still rebuilding, the Suns showed plenty of signs last season, and will be a team to watch in Season 7.