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Gold Coast Suns

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Title: Gold Coast Suns  
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Gold Coast Suns

This article is about the Australian rules football team. For the baseball team, see Gold Coast Suns (baseball). For the soccer team, see Gold Coast United FC.

Gold Coast
Full name Gold Coast Football Club
Nickname(s) Suns
2013 season
Premiership 14th
Leading goalkicker Gary Ablett (28 goals)
Best and fairest Gary Ablett
Club details
Founded 2009
Colours      Red      Gold      Blue [1]
Competition Australian Football League
Chairman John Witheriff
Coach Guy McKenna
Captain(s) Gary Ablett, Jr.
Premierships 0 ()
Ground(s) Metricon Stadium[2] (capacity: 25,000)
Other information
Official website
Current season: 2013

The Gold Coast Football Club, nicknamed The Suns, is an Australian rules football franchise based on the Gold Coast, which began playing in the Australian Football League (AFL) competition for the first time in 2011. The club played its first game as a part of the AFL in the pre-season NAB Cup competition in February 2011 before beginning the season proper in April 2011.

The club is the product of a sole consortium, formerly known as "GC17", tendering against established criteria for a licence to be the 17th club in the AFL competition. On 31 March 2009 the club was granted a provisional licence to join the AFL competition[3] and the AFL proposed that the new club would enter the national competition in the 2011 season.[4] The following year, during a press conference on 22 July, the club announced its new nickname, logo, club song and three new home, away and clash guernseys.


Main article: History of the Gold Coast Football Club

In January 2008, it was reported that the AFL officially registered the name Gold Coast Football Club Ltd with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).[5] The registration was effective from 24 December 2007.[6] In March 2008, the AFL won the support of the league's 16 club presidents to establish a side on the Gold Coast and an 18th side in Western Sydney.


AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou announced in early 2008 that the club could debut in the Queensland State League in 2009 as it recruits players and prepares for its debut season in the AFL.[7] Amongst the first players targeted by the Gold Coast were current St Kilda captain and Gold Coast junior Nick Riewoldt,[8] Hawthorn forward and 2008 Coleman Medallist Lance Franklin[9] and Adelaide forward Kurt Tippett.[10]

In June 2008 it was announced that the new team would play in the TAC Cup in 2009 [11] and then in the VFL in 2010.

Guy McKenna was appointed coach in August 2008.[12] In early 2009, the Host Plus superannuation fund was named as the club's major sponsor.[13] On 15 May 2009, it was announced that highly respected Essendon administrator Travis Auld would be the CEO of "GC17".[14][15] Former Brisbane Lions Shaun Hart and Gold Coaster Marcus Ashcroft were also appointed to the coaching panel. On 1 October 2009, the club announced it had signed Guy McKenna as head coach until 2012.[16]

In early 2009, the Queensland Government announced that it would contribute sufficient funds allowing the redevelopment of Gold Coast Stadium. The capacity of the new stadium will be 25,000 and is scheduled to be complete in May 2011. All home matches other than the games versus Brisbane Lions will be played at the new Gold Coast Stadium. They have also been confirmed to play their first AFL game at The Gabba in Round 2 against Carlton after a bye in Round 1.[17] Their first game at the new stadium will be against Geelong in round 10, 2011. Also amongst the blockbuster games at home for the Suns in 2011 are both 2010 AFL Grand Finalists Collingwood and St Kilda (both of whom the Suns will only play once) and Geelong.

2009: TAC Cup

The club's junior squad competed in the 2009 TAC Cup under 18 competition winning a number of games, eventually finishing in 5th place. They defeated the Northern Knights in the elimination final but then lost their semi final to the Geelong Falcons. These are the results and fixture for the 2009 season:[18][19]

Inaugural TAC Cup team

Inaugural GC17 team (Round 1, 2009 season)
B: Hamish Watts James Nelis Daniel Ramage
HB: Jake Crawford Matt Storey Jesse Haberfield
C: Joseph Daye Josh Thomas Todd Grayson
HF: Taylor Rolfe Matt Fowler Luke Shreeve
F: Rory Thompson Liam Rutledge Alik Magin
Foll: Zac Smith Marc Lock (c) Gary Ablett
Int: Declan Bevan Brad Rees Mitch Harley
Jack Stanlake Nick Price Tyler Green
Coach: Guy McKenna[20]

2010: VFL

In November 2009 the team signed twelve 17 year olds around the country to compete in the VFL year through the under age access rules. These players included Luke Russell (Burnie), Maverick Weller (Burnie), Taylor Hine (Calder), Josh Toy (Calder), Matt Shaw (Dandenong), Piers Flanagan (Geelong), Hayden Jolly (Glenelg), Alex Keath (Murray), Jack Hutchins (Sandringham), Tom Nicholls (Sandringham), Brandon Matera (South Fremantle), Trent McKenzie (Western Jets).

The Gold Coast was also given permission (by the AFL) to play David Swallow in 2010, despite not being the correct age. The deal that was struck with the AFL stated that Swallow would still need to go through the 2010 AFL Draft to officially join the team, while the other under age recruits contracts would run through 2011.

These are the results and fixture for the 2010 season, in which the club competed in the VFL.[21]

Inaugural VFL team

Inaugural GCFC team (Round 1, 2010 season)
B: Matt Shaw Jack Hutchins Michael Gugliotta
HB: Taylor Hine Michael Coad Maverick Weller
C: Trent McKenzie Marc Lock (c) Luke Russell
HF: Alik Magin Charlie Dixon Brandon Matera
F: Liam Patrick Nathan Ablett Rex Liddy
Foll: Zac Smith Daniel Harris Sam Iles
Int: Danny Stanley Rory Thompson Hayden Jolly
David Swallow Luke Shreeve Joseph Daye
Coach: Guy McKenna

2011: AFL debut

Concessions on entry into the AFL

Year Draft Picks Senior List Size Salary Cap Allowance Zone Access Notes
2009 - - - 20 QLD The club was granted access to twenty 17-year-old Queensland players who were eligible for the 2009 AFL Draft.
2010 - - - 5 QLD
2 NT
The club was allowed to sign up to twelve 17 year olds born between 1 January and 30 April 1992. The club also received the first 5 picks in the rookie draft.
2011 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 26, 43 48 $1,000,000 extra 5 QLD At the conclusion of the 2010 season the club was able to sign up to 16 current AFL players who were uncontracted for the 2011 season.The club was also allowed to sign up to 10 players who had previously elected for the national draft and weren't selected. The club also received the first 5 picks in the rookie draft.
2012 AFL Standard 46 $800,000 extra 5 QLD -
2013 AFL Standard 42 $600,000 extra AFL Standard -
2014 AFL Standard 40 $400,000 extra AFL Standard -
2015 AFL Standard AFL Standard AFL Standard AFL Standard All concessions removed and the club operates like every other team in the AFL.

Inaugural AFL team

Inaugural Gold Coast team (Round 2, 2011 season)
B: Seb Tape Nathan Bock Campbell Brown
HB: Jarrod Harbrow Karmichael Hunt Nathan Krakouer
C: Trent McKenzie Daniel Harris Michael Rischitelli
HF: Danny Stanley Charlie Dixon Alik Magin
F: Jared Brennan Zac Smith Brandon Matera
Foll: Josh Fraser David Swallow Gary Ablett (c)
Int: Marc Lock Harley Bennell Dion Prestia
Josh Toy
Coach: Guy McKenna[22]


Gold Coast had a bye in Round 1, and played its first AFL game debuted in Round 2 on 2 April 2011 against Carlton at the Gabba in front of a crowd of 27,914. The first five goals were scored by Carlton, before Charlie Dixon scored the first ever goal for the Gold Coast Suns. Carlton went on to win by 119 points. Gold Cost won its first game in Round 5 on 23 April 2011, defeating Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium. Gold Coast trailed by 40 points late in the third quarter, before coming back to win by three points, after Port Adelaide's Justin Westhoff missed a set shot after the siren.[23] Michael Rischitelli was the best on ground.

Gold Coast won two more matches for the season, winning the inaugural QClash against Brisbane Lions in Round 7 by eight points, and defeating Richmond by 15 points in Round 17 in the first AFL match ever played at Cazaly's Stadium in Cairns. However, the Suns also suffered several more very heavy defeats during the year, including a 139-point loss to Essendon in Round 6 – in which Essendon scored a record 15.4 (94) in the first quarter – and a 150 point loss against Geelong in Round 20. The Suns went on to win the wooden spoon.


Gold Coast endured a poor pre-season in 2012 which included a 13-point loss to fellow AFL newcomers Greater Western Sydney. Their solitary win in that time was a narrow win over Melbourne in the triangular round of the 2012 NAB Cup.

The home-and-away season did not begin well for the Suns either, losing their first fourteen matches in succession to be the only winless team after Round 15 of the 2012 AFL season. Among the losses included losses by more than ninety points to Collingwood and St Kilda (twice), seven-point losses to Fremantle and at home and a 27-point loss to the newest AFL franchise, Greater Western Sydney. Their fourteen losses to start the season was the worst by any team since Fremantle lost its first 17 matches of the 2001 season. Their horror start to the season ended in round 16 with a narrow 2 point win against Richmond. They had a lead of up to 36 points halfway through the second quarter, which then shrank to 24 points after 2 quick goals before half time from Richmond. Richmond then had a six to two goal quarter, snatching the lead back. The lead then went to 18 points Richmond's way before Gold Coast snatched it back to just 4. With 5 seconds left, a kick from the right forward pocket in Gold Coast's 50 was marked by Karmichael Hunt. After the siren sounded he kicked the goal to make Gold Coast 2 point winners.[24]

The Suns then won two more matches for the season, a 30-point win against Greater Western Sydney in Round 20 and a 12-point upset win over Carlton in Round 22, both at home. The team finished 17th at the end of the season, only above Greater Western Sydney on the AFL ladder.


In November 2012 the club announced their "20-ONE-3" plan that targets a premiership and 20,000 members by the conclusion of the 2015 AFL season.[25]

In the 2013 AFL season to date Gold Coast have made a much improved effort, highlighted by victories over seasoned opponents in Collingwood, St Kilda, the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne. Their improvement on the past two seasons has been so stark that they were considered possibilities of securing an unlikely finals berth up until the final round after Essendon lost all their premiership points[26]


Carrara Stadium
Location Nerang-Broadbeach Road,
Carrara, Queensland,
Australia, 4211
Opened 1987
Renovated 2010-11
Owner Queensland Government
Operator Stadiums Queensland
Architect Populous (2010)
Capacity 25,000 (23,500 seats)
Field dimensions 171 x 144 metres
Main article: Carrara Stadium

Gold Coast began playing at Carrara Stadium in their foundation year of 2009. Although the ground had existed since 1987, the Gold Coast Football Club's establishment in late 2008 prompted the club to use the stadium as their home ground during the 2009 TAC Cup. The ground opened in 1987 and was used by the Brisbane Bears for the first six years of existence and was later used by the North Melbourne Kangaroos and several professional Rugby League teams.

The insufficient and outdated facilities at Carrara Stadium led to the Australian Football League investigating several stadium options for the Gold Coast's inaugural AFL season in 2011. A new $172 million stadium in Helensvale was a strongly considered option.[27][28] The AFL eventually brokered a deal with the Gold Coast City Council and the Queensland Government to redevelop Carrara Stadium. The $144.2 million upgrade would increase the stadium capacity to 25,000.

Construction for the redevelopment of Carrara Stadium began in December 2009 and the Gold Coast was required to find a new home ground for the 2010 VFL season. The team shared their games among local grounds Fankhauser Reserve, H & A Oval and Cooke-Murphy Oval. The redevelopment ran into the 2011 AFL season and the Gold Coast were again required to find a temporary home ground. The Suns elected to use the Gabba for their first three home games of the 2011 season.

The redeveloped Carrara Stadium (commercially known as Metricon Stadium) was officially opened on 22 May 2011 by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. Six days later the Gold Coast Suns hosted their first home match at the redeveloped Carrara Stadium against the Geelong Cats in front of a sell out crowd. Two months later, the Suns attracted the largest crowd ever at the Carrara Stadium in a game against Collingwood that attracted an attendance of 23,302.

The stadium will once again be upgraded in 2018 to a seating capacity of 40,000 as part of the Gold Coast's successful bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.


Membership base

The Gold Coast Suns played their first Australian Football League game in the 2011 AFL Premiership Season in Round 2 of Season 2011 in Brisbane at The Gabba, against high profile Victorian team Carlton. The Suns attracted their biggest ever home crowd at that game. The Suns achieved their first AFL win in Round 5 against the Port Adelaide Power. They also hosted the inaugural QClash at the same venue against rival side the Brisbane Lions in front of 25,504 fans. The Suns ended up winning the game. The Suns moved into their home stadium on the Gold Coast, Metricon Stadium in time for their Round 10 clash against the Geelong Cats. Despite just winning 3 games in their opening 15 matches and finishing in last place on the AFL ladder.

Metricon Stadium recorded its biggest ever figure when 23,302 people watched the Suns tackle defending premiers Collingwood in Round 18 of the 2011 AFL season.

Year Members Change From Previous Season End of Minor Round Finishing Position Average Crowd Change From Previous Season
Decrease 2,855
Decrease 5,524
Increase 1,298
Increase 262

– ¹ as at 1 October 2013

Club symbols


The three types of guernseys are:

  • Home guernsey (worn since 2011): Red and gold based guernsey with the club logo in the middle. HostPlus sponsor on front and Virgin Australia sponsor on back (home pants worn in home games and away pants worn in away games).
  • Away guernsey (Worn since 2011): Red based guernsey with a wave, coloured blue, gold and white. Virgin Australia sponsor on front and HostPlus sponsor on back (away pants worn).
  • Clash guernsey (Worn since 2013): White based guernsey with a wave, coloured blue and gold. Virgin Australia sponsor on front and HostPlus sponsor on back (away pants worn).


The Suns' Mascot Manor representative and club mascot is Sunny Ray.


The team song is Suns of the Gold Coast Sky.[29]


A three-man committee of former Brisbane Lions chairman Graham Downie, Southport Sharks director Alan Mackenzie and lawyer and community leader John Witheriff will establish the club's administration.[5] As part of the AFL bid criteria, the GC17 consortium required a commitment from 20,000 locals to become football club members, a $5 million net asset base and 111 sponsors (at least one major, 10 secondary level and 100 tertiary) by mid-October 2008.[30]


In the leadup to the 2009 AFL Draft, the AFL allowed the Gold Coast to recruit 12 players born between January and April 1992, with all other AFL clubs being restricted to players born in 1991 or earlier.

Karmichael Hunt, a former professional rugby league player with the Brisbane Broncos and rugby union side Biarritz Olympique in France's Top 14, was signed to swap codes to play for the Gold Coast from 2010.[31]

Gary Ablett, Jr., dual premiership player with Geelong and winner of the 2009 Brownlow Medal, signed a deal reportedly worth $9.6 million over five years to captain the Gold Coast during their starting years.[32]

Other significant signings to the current junior team that played in the VFL included Stanis Susuve (a member of Papua New Guinea's International Cup winning team) and Brandon Matera (whose father Wally Matera and uncles Peter and Phil all played senior AFL football with the West Coast Eagles).[33]

At the end of 2010 season, the club had been given the following concessions:[34]

  • The ability to sign one uncontracted player from each of the 16 AFL clubs
  • Zoned access to five Queensland players prior to the AFL draft
  • The first pick in every round plus additional first round picks at Numbers 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 and 15 of the 2010 AFL Draft
  • The capacity to pre-list 10 players who had previously nominated for the AFL Draft, or were previously listed with an AFL club
  • The first five selections of the Rookie Draft
  • An expanded main list of 48 players (clubs are usually allowed 38)

Initial 2011 playing squad recruitment

Current squad

Senior list Rookie List Coaching staff
  • 40 Andrew Boston
  • 41 Leigh Osbourne
  • 46 Josh Hall

2014 Pre-listed player

  • 28 Jack Martin

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain
  • Long-term injury list
  • Upgraded rookie(s)
  • (ret) Retired

Updated: 31 October 2012
Source(s): Coaching staff

Current Coaching staff


Reserves team

Main article: Australian Football League reserves affiliations

A reserves team compete in the Northern Conference of the North East Australian Football League and have done so since the inaugural 2011 NEAFL season. Despite large emphasis being put on youth players development in the seniors team, the reserves team have made the NEAFL finals series every season they have competed but are yet to make a Grand Final.

Honour board


     TAC Cup (2009)
     Victorian Football League (2010)
     Australian Football League (2011–)

Year Pos Coach Captain Club Champion Leading goalkicker Player's Player Iron Man Award Community Award Most Professional Most Improved NEAFL Player of the Year
2009 5/13 Guy McKenna Marc Lock Marc Lock Matt Fowler (43) N/A Todd Grayson Zac Smith N/A N/A
2010 10/14 Guy McKenna Marc Lock Sam Iles Charlie Dixon (22)
Brandon Matera (22)
Michael Coad Daniel Harris Jesse Haberfield Zac Smith N/A N/A
2011 17/17 Guy McKenna Gary Ablett, Jr. Gary Ablett, Jr. Danny Stanley (20) N/A Michael Rischitelli Alik Magin Michael Rischitelli Karmichael Hunt Jacob Gillbee
2012 17/18 Guy McKenna Gary Ablett, Jr. Gary Ablett, Jr. Gary Ablett, Jr. (26) N/A Kyal Horsley Jarrod Harbrow Kyal Horsley Harley Bennell Alik Magin
2013 14/18 Guy McKenna Gary Ablett, Jr. Gary Ablett, Jr. Gary Ablett, Jr. (28) Danny Stanley N/A Zac Smith Rory Thompson Rory Thompson Jack Martin

Club records

Main article: List of Gold Coast Football Club records

Club honours


  • Finalists: 2009


  • Premierships (0):
    • Runners-Up (0):
  • Minor Premiership (0):
  • Finals Series Appearances (0):
  • Wooden Spoons (1): 2011

Match records

  • Highest score: Gold Coast 21.22 (148) v Greater Western Sydney 16.8 (104), Round 5, 2013, StarTrack Oval
  • Lowest score: Gold Coast 4.10 (34) v Western Bulldogs 9.18 (72), Round 8, 2012, TIO Stadium
  • Greatest winning margin: 83 points – Gold Coast 22.14 (146) v Greater Western Sydney 9.9 (63), Round 23, 2013, Metricon Stadium
  • Longest winning streak: 2 Games (Round 7, 2013 - Round 8, 2013)
  • Longest losing streak: 21 - Round 18, 2011 – Round 15, 2012
  • Highest ladder position (end of round): 7th - Round 1, 2013
  • Highest ladder position (end of season): 14th of 18th, 2013 AFL Season
  • Lowest ladder position (end of season): 17th of 17th (Wooden Spoon), 2011 AFL Season

Individual awards

All-Australian team representatives

Brownlow Medal

Leigh Matthews Trophy

Suns TV

Suns TV is a television program hosted by Jessica Skarratt that is carried by the Seven Network and is shown thirty minutes prior to Gold Coast Suns games in Queensland. The program features highlights as well as interviews with players and coaches in the lead up to the match being played that week.

See also


External links

  • Gold Coast Football Club website
  • Southport Sharks website

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