Confidence Is Growing, Education Remains Paramount
Assistant coach Dean Solomon acknowledges that confidence has sparked up in the GC SUNS group, but that there is still plenty to educate the players on.
They’re a premiership team and they’ve got classy finishers that will make us pay, so we have to be on our game.
ATHELTIC defender Joel Wilkinson’s relentless hunger towards tasting senior football is every coach’s dream, according to assistant coach Dean Solomon.
The 21-year-old’s preparation on and off the field continues to amaze the Gold Coast SUNS coaching staff, after the former Broadbeach Cats star set new records in the weight room and on the 2km training track over the summer.
Solomon said Wilkinson’s professionalism and determination was the standard of excellence expected around the club.
“He’s very coachable… (he) doesn’t have to invent anything because he knows he plays a role across the halfback and the sides really valuing what’s he’s giving,” said Solomon.
“He loves a challenge and he’s always in the office trying to find out information… (and) that’s what you want from your inexperienced footballers – you want them to crave knowledge and educate themselves on the opposition.”
Wilkinson said it would be foolish to assume the Round 2 clash against the Sydney Swans would not be a fiercely-contested match.
“We’re got Sydney this week and you don’t want to be (classed as) jokers where we’re up one week and down the next,” said Wilkinson.
After a promising performance against the reigning AFL premiers, where the GC SUNS out-scored the Swans in three of the four quarters, Wilkinson said taken away valuable experience from the NAB Cup contest.
“Definitely the key week in and week out is to win the contested football… and we understand what happens when we do drop off – we saw what happened to us in the second quarter against Sydney,” said Wilkinson.
“They’re a premiership team and they’ve got classy finishers that will make us pay, so we have to be on our game.”