It’s 2011. The AFL’s newest club attempts to break onto the scene with immense youth and potential. However 7 years on the Gold Coast experiment has been nothing but a failure for the AFL.
With Gary Ablett returning to his first club , no clear signs of leadership and a club in chaos , the Suns will forever be the team that got away from the AFL.
The Suns had their chances but failed to capitalise. The 2014 season saw them reach third on the ladder before a season-ending injury to Gary Ablett destroyed any chances of them making it to September. They fell short, and ever since then , have been a club of “next years”.
Their uphill battle isn’t helped by the fact that their hometown is a prominently tourist area. Queenslanders are notorious for being slack in their support for struggling teams. So add to the fact that the locals aren’t even locals, and support is narrow. As any club knows, its supporters are an intengral part of the identity of a club. Sadly, what the Suns are missing is a culture.
The AFL’s decision to licence another Queensland club makes sense. It was their chance to cut into the NRL market. Yet, a bit of research would have seen that this would never have worked.
The Titans have been on the verge of bankruptcy every year. Games at Carrara never sold incredibly. The A-League can even contribute, with a failed soccer club yet another example. The fact is, the Suns would never have had the market.
So where to now? Unless things turn around fast, it may be a case of moving. The AFL can only support a struggling club for so long. After all, it’s a business. If the Gold Coast won’t make them money, another place will.
Of course, this isn’t the fault of the AFL entirely. A string of poor coaching choices, along with trading away picks for veterans, placed the Suns in a poor spot. But the longer the struggle continues, the more the AFL needs to pull the trigger and save the Suns before they are forced to fold.