Over the 2015 trade and draft periods, 12 new faces joined the Gold Coast SUNS playing list, representing a turnover of more than a quarter of the entire group.
It’s a huge transition as the club looks to enter a new high performance phase, with Rodney Eade downplaying expectations of the younger players coming in but expecting experienced trio of Jarrad Grant, Matt Rosa and Dan Currie to have an impact both on and off the field.
“Of the recruits, as far as draft and rookies, the drafted lads are all young and need their bodies built so we wouldn’t have thought they’d have a big impact in 2016,” Eade said.
“I think obviously the ones we expect to have an impact are the older players.”
“Jarrad Grant’s training really well, his footy IQ is very, very high which will help our group.”
“Matt Rosa’s very professional, he had an ankle operation over the summer so he’s another one that’s gradually being fed into the main sessions and he’s back full training now but his experience and his leadership has been invaluable so far.”
“Dan Currie’s the other one who arrived with a bit of a foot injury and he’s in rehab at the moment, but his program is going exceptionally well and he’ll be right to join in after Christmas.”
“So those three we think will have an impact.”
In November’s rookie draft from five selections, the SUNS added a pair of mature-aged recruits in Tom Keough (West Adelaide) and Ryan Davis (Swan Districts).
After Adam Saad’s revelation of a season in 2015 from similar circumstances, Eade believes their developed bodies could withstand the rigours of AFL football if the opportunity presents itself.
“There’s a couple on the rookie list, who are new, who are a bit older,” Eade said.
“24-year-old Tom Keough and 26-year-old Ryan Davis, they’re training really well and you can see the hardened bodies from the local competitions and wouldn’t be surprised if they make an impact in 2016.”