LAST season saw some significant improvement from the Gold Coast Suns, and they really looked like they were progressing forward well at times. They were even in the hunt for the finals for much of the season, but ultimately fell away late to finish 10th.
However, with significant list turnover in the offseason, including losing a lot of experience to other clubs, so the question remains how that will affect the Suns moving forward and can they keep the progression from last season going.
Best & Fairest: Alison Drennan
Leading Goalkicker: Tara Bohanna
IN: Ashlee Atkins (East Fremantle), Jasmyn Smith (Bond Uni), Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster (Williamstown), Georgia Clayden (Ainslie), Alana Gee (Southport), Courtney Jones (Carlton), Tahlia Meyer (Hawthorn VFLW), Claire Ransom (Tasmania), Krystal Scott (Bond Uni)
OUT: Kate Surman, Jacqui Yorston, Brittany Perry, Hannah Dunn, Cheyenne Hammond (all Port Adelaide), Sarah Perkins, Janet Baird (both Hawthorn), Dee Heslop, Alana Barba (both delisted)
Lauren Ahrens, Ashlee Atkins, Lauren Bella, Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster, Tara Bohanna, Annise Bradfield, Ashanti Bush, Georgia Clayden, Shannon Danckert, Daisy D’Arcy, Giselle Davies, Alison Drennan, Jacqueline Dupuy, Alana Gee, Tori Groves-Little, Ellie Hampson, Kalinda Howarth, Courtney Jones, Elizabeth Keaney, Tahlia Meyer, Wallis Randell, Claire Ransom, Charlie Rowbottom, Vivien Saad, Krystal Scott, Lucy Single, Jasmyn Smith, Jamie Stanton, Serene Watson, Claudia Whitfort
Inactive: Maddison Levi, Teagan Levi, Jade Pregelj
Round 1: @ North Melbourne | Blundstone Arena
Round 2: vs. West Coast | Metricon Stadium
Round 3: @ Brisbane | Gabba
Round 4: vs. St Kilda | Great Barrier Reef Arena
Round 5: vs. Port Adelaide | Kombumerri Park
Round 6: @ Richmond | Swinburne Centre
Round 7: @ Sydney | Henson Park
Round 8: vs. Melbourne | Metricon Stadium
Round 9: vs. Carlton | Metricon Stadium
Round 10: @ GWS | Henson Park
B: Vivien Saad – Lauren Ahrens
HB: Elizabeth Keaney – Giselle Davies – Serene Watson
C: Jamie Stanton – Alison Drennan – Daisy D’Arcy
HF: Jasmyn Smith – Kalinda Howarth – Ellie Hampson
F: Courtney Jones – Tara Bohanna
R: Lauren Bella – Charlie Rowbottom – Claudia Whitfort
INT: Jacqui Dupuy – Annise Bradfield – Claire Ransom – Lucy Single – Tori Groves-Little
EMG: Ashlee Atkins – Shannon Danckert – Tahlia Meyer
Remaining players: Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster, Ashanti Bush, Georgia Clayden, Alana Gee*, Wallis Randell, Krystal Scott
Inactive: Maddison Levi (rugby commitments), Teagan Levi (rugby commitments), Jade Pregelj (knee injury)
*Recovering from a back injury
LEAGUE B&F CONTENDER: Charlie Rowbottom
The 2021 number one draft pick showed why she was such a highly sought after draft pick in Season 6, having a stellar season through the midfield. There is no reason to suggest she will not have another stellar season and with other more experienced faces out the door in the offseason, she may really step up to fill that hole.
BIG YEAR FOR: Tara Bohanna
It has been quite the whirlwind 12 months for Bohanna, going from overlooked in the 2021 draft to being picked up by the Suns as a free agent, and now becoming Suns skipper in only her second season in the competition. She has got a big job this season, captaining a very young and inexperienced side while also maintaining her form from last season which saw her make the All Australian squad.
KEY TALKING POINTS:
How will their high list turnover affect their chances?
The Suns brought in nine new faces this offseason, which is almost a third of their entire list. Now a lot of turnover can bring synergy issues particularly early in the season, so whether the Suns suffer the same fate remains to be seen.
How do the Suns cover all that lost experience?
In addition to the previous point, some of Gold Coast’s losses in the offseason were the most experienced players on the list, which with an already fairly young list is going to hurt the Suns.
The question will be how do the Suns cover the loss of these players, and who will step up and have a bigger role this season.
Who will replace Sarah Perkins and create the duo with Tara Bohanna?
Now that Perkins has gone, the question remains who can Bohanna team up with to create that same dynamic? Time will tell on that front.
What will Gold Coast’s “list concession additions” bring to the side?
After last season Gold Coast brought in three players as part of list concessions – Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster, Krystal Scott and Georgia Clayden. The talent of their draftees is much talked about, but the more mature heads of their “concession additions” less so. Will their experience and mature heads offset the lack of AFLW and pathway experience the trio have? What will they bring to the side? Will they be able to cover the experience lost in the offseason?