Can the Giants keep stars Lachie Whitfield, Jeremy Cameron and Zac Williams?
Can the Giants keep stars Lachie Whitfield, Jeremy Cameron and Zac Williams?

The early mistakes which doomed Suns

NINE years on from the draft which was supposed to provide the foundations of its first premiership team, Gold Coast is about to start again. 

After a disastrous 2019 campaign which finished with 18 consecutive losses, the Suns will receive a bevy of draft assistance from the AFL. 

It was revealed on Monday Gold Coast would be granted the No.2 pick in this year's draft, effectively giving the club access to Oakleigh Chargers star Noah Anderson, whose best mate Matthew Rowell seems certain to be snapped up with pick No.1. 

The Suns will also have pick No.20 in this year's draft, plus a mid-first-round selection in 2020 and  currently and the first selection in the second round in 2021 to help their cause. 

Gold Coast had similar assistance in 2011, when it held eight of the opening 15 picks in the national draft. 

Key-position player Sam Day is the only player taken in that who remains at Metricon Stadium. 

No.2 pick Harley Bennell was delisted by Fremantle at the end of this season, while Josh Caddy (pick 7), Dion Prestia (pick 9) and Tom Lynch (pick 11) featured in Richmond's premiership team. 

Gold Coast's 2016 leadership group, which featured Gary Ablett, Dion Prestia, Tom Lynch and Steven May.
Gold Coast's 2016 leadership group, which featured Gary Ablett, Dion Prestia, Tom Lynch and Steven May.

Defender Seb Tape played 40 games for the Suns before being delisted, while ruckman Daniel Gorringe was delisted in 2015 and subsequently signed for Carlton. 

Of the players recruited under rules designed to help Gold Coast build its initial list in 2011 and 2012, only Day (120 games), Gary Ablett (110), Michael Rischitelli (132) and Jarrod Harbrow (175) have played more than 100 games. 

The club was given access to players who had previously nominated for the draft at the end of 2010, sending Peter Faulks to Fremantle, Andrew Krakouer and Jon Ceglar to Collingwood, Rohan Bewick to Brisbane Lions, Tendai Mzungu to the Dockers, Cameron Richardson to North Melbourne and Simon Phillips to Port Adelaide. 

Of the players netted in those six deals, Jared Brennan (54) featured in the most games for Gold Coast. 

Superboot Trent McKenzie (106 games) provided the greatest value of the 12 17-year-olds acquired before the club entered the AFL, with Matthew Shaw (102) and Brandon Matera (101) reaching a century of games on the sunshine strip. 

But seven of those initial selections played 32 matches or less, including one of the game's leading defenders in 2019 Alex Keath. 

In contrast, GWS' 17-year-old haul included future stars Adam Treloar, Dylan Shiel and Jeremy Cameron. 

Perhaps the most glaring error in Gold Coast's initial recruiting strategy was passing on the opportunity to sign Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko. 

The QAFL star was available to the Suns as a Queensland-based priority pick, but they instead traded him to Brisbane for draft pick No.34. 

Whether Gold Coast has learned from the mistakes of the past will become clear in coming months. 

Lions captain Dayne Zorko shows his skill during his side’s easy weekend win over the Suns. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Lions captain Dayne Zorko shows his skill during his side’s easy weekend win over the Suns. (AAP Image/Darren England)

GOLD COAST'S INITIAL RECRUITING

17-year-old selections (games in brackets)

Brandon Matera (10)

Trent McKenzie (106)

Luke Russell (73)

Mav Weller (32)

Taylor Hine (9)

Josh Toy (13)

Matt Shaw (102)

Piers Flanagan (3)

Hayden Jolly (6)

Alex Keath (0)

Jack Hutchins (19)

Tom Nicholls (45)

2011 National Draft 

Pick 2 Harley Bennell (81)

Pick 3 Sam Day (120)

Pick 5 (traded in deal for pick 10 - Daniel Gorringe (22) and other picks)

Pick 7 Josh Caddy (24)

Pick 9 Dion Prestia (95)

Pick 11 Tom Lynch (131)

Pick 13 Seb Tape (40)

Pick 15 traded to Geelong as Gary Ablett compo (110)

Gold Coast teammates Josh Caddy and Dion Prestia on draft night.
Gold Coast teammates Josh Caddy and Dion Prestia on draft night.

2011 rookie draft (Suns had picks 1-5)

Daniel Harris (11)

Michael Coad (6)

Sam Iles (26)

Roland Ah Chee (0)

Danny Stanley (83)

Experienced players on-traded at end of 2010

Peter Faulks - Suns used pick 55 acquired in deal with Fremantle to land pick 25 from Collingwood. The Suns used the pick as compensation for Jared Brennan (54)

Andrew Krakouer - Traded to Collingwood as part of deal for pick 25.

Jon Ceglar - Traded to Collingwood as part of deal for pick 25.

Rohan Bewick - became pick 48, which was used on Jacob Gilbee (6)

Tendai Mzungu - pick from Fremantle Used to draft Jeremy Taylor at pick No.39 (10).

Cameron Richardson - Gained pick 35 from North Melbourne.

Simon Phillips - traded pick 35 and Phillips for Nathan Krakouer compensation pick. Via some complex trades this was eventually used in 2013 on Jack Leslie (28).

Nathan Bock, a graduate of Henley High, during Gold Coast Suns AFL training at Metricon Stadium. Picture: Adam Head
Nathan Bock, a graduate of Henley High, during Gold Coast Suns AFL training at Metricon Stadium. Picture: Adam Head

Signed ahead of 2011 under out-of-contract rules

Nathan Bock (27)

Gary Ablett (110)

Nathan Krakouer (13)

Campbell Brown (46)

Michael Rischitelli (132)

Jarrod Harbrow (175)

Josh Fraser (18)

Jared Brennan (54)