It was another difficult season for the Suns in 2021, recording seven wins and 15 losses to land at 16th on the ladder.
Injuries continued to hamper the hopes Gold Coast would have had entering their 11th season in the AFL, with prized pick Matt Rowell one again succumbing to a season-ending ailment.
There were bright signs for the Suns however, with midfielder Touk Miller emerging as one of the AFL’s best midfielders for the season, while young forward Ben King booted 47 goals in his third season with the club.
Young talent in Jack Lukosius, Charlie Ballard, Wil Powell and Noah Anderson took on more senior roles in Stuart Dew’s side last season as they look to steer the Suns toward top eight contention for the years to come.
In: Mabior Chol, Charlie Constable, Mac Andrew, Levi Casboult, Sandy Brock, Bodhi Uwland, James Tsitas
Out: Hugh Greenwood, Aiden Fyfe, Jarrod Harbrow, Jack Hombsch, Jordan Murdoch, Zac Smith, Will Brodie
Tackles - 2nd
Intercepts - 6th
Rebound 50s - 1st
Clearances - 14th
Turnovers - 15th
Centre Clearances - 18th
Star player: Touk Miller
The 2021 season was a breakout year for the long-serving Sun, who ended his All-Australian calibre campaign with 16-straight performances of 30 or more disposals.
On top of his AA nod, Miller was awarded with his maiden club best and fairest as well as a new long-term deal and a role as co-captain for the 2022 season.
Having now entered the top echelon of midfielder’s in the AFL, Miller will be looking to further stake his claim as one of the game’s best ball winners as the Suns look to rise with the helping hand of their prolific midfielder.
One to watch: James Tsitsas
Having joined the Suns as a Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period recruit from Woodville-West Torrens, Tsitas is an unproven prospect in the top flight.
Despite this, the explosive midfielder might not look out of place in the AFL and could quickly become a mainstay in Stuart Dew’s engine room ensemble.
Averaging 28.6 possessions, 4.7 clearances, 5.6 tackles and 3.6 inside 50s with the Eagles last season, Tsitas will be hoping his form in the SANFL transitions into his time at Carrara.
Under pressure: Stuart Dew
While players will often get the nod for this, it's hard to see anything at the Suns under more pressure than their senior coach.
Dew enters his fifth season as Gold Coast’s senior coach this year, with the club yet to register a place higher than 14th across his time with the club.
With 2022 also the final year of Dew’s current contract, the pressure is set to mount on the Hawthorn premiership star’s shoulders should the Suns fail to impress this season.
While Gold Coast’s list is one littered with exciting young talent, it will be hard to see the Suns rise any higher than another bottom five finish.
A season without first-string forward target Ben King is sure to severely hamper the Queensland club’s chances to improve on the year prior, with a before-seen focus on youth development set to be the main chapter for Gold Coast’s 2022 campaign.
They have the pedigree across all three lines, but whether each contingent under Stuart Dew can gel with consistency remains to be another question the club will be looking to answer.
Five matches to watch
Round 1 vs. West Coast, Optus Stadium, Sunday March 20
Round 4 vs. Brisbane, Metricon Stadium, Saturday April 24
Round 11 vs. Hawthorn, TIO Stadium, TBC
Round 12 vs. North Melbourne, TIO Stadium, TBC
Round 19 vs. Brisbane, Gabba, TBC
All time games
- Jarrod Harbrow - 192
- David Swallow - 175
- Alex Sexton - 154
- Sam Day - 143
- Touk Miller - 138
All time goals
- Tom Lynch - 254
- Alex Sexton - 150
- Gary Ablett - 124
- Brandon Matera - 124
- Sam Day - 100
MOST DISPOSALS: Touk Miller - 668
MOST TACKLES: Touk Miller - 149
MOST CLEARANCES: Touk Miller - 120
MOST MARKS: Jack Lukosius - 172
MOST GOALS: Ben King - 47