When experienced coach Rodney Eade joined the Gold Coast SUNS in late October 2014, nobody could have predicted the issues that dogged the expansion club over the next 12 months.
Not only did injuries decimate the list over the course of the season, the SUNS were splashed across the media several times for all the wrong reasons with multiple off-field indiscretions bringing the club’s culture into question.
At the time, the player leadership group took a hard stance with offending players handed punishments seen by some as harsh. However Eade believes these were a turning point for his side in terms of standards and culture.
“A fair bit’s changed. Again with the leadership, we made really good traction I believe halfway through last year,” Eade told SUNS TV.
“The players could really see there was consistency in what the expectations were.”
During the 2015 trade and exchange period, the club made the difficult decision to trade away talented foundation duo Harley Bennell and Charlie Dixon.
Both players were handed sanctions for off-field incidents in 2015, but moving them on appears to have paid dividends with standards on the improve across the entire playing list.
“Obviously there’s some players that aren’t here anymore that probably standards-wise were a bit up and down, but there’s real buy-in now that the players are driving it a lot more,” Eade said.
“They’ve still got a bit of education to go there with our leadership program for them to be able to drive the culture but certainly with the staff we’ve brought in it has added to the place.”
“The work we did in 2015, you can see that’s set a good base for us going forward.”
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