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RD10: Highlights v Melbourne

8:06pm  May 27, 2017

RD10: Eade Post-Match

7:57pm  May 27, 2017

RD10: Matera's marvellous finish

5:24pm  May 27, 2017

Latest News

Eade: Mistakes cost us goals

In his post-match press conference, Rodney Eade spoke of the impact of turning the ball over too often.

9:22pm  May 27, 2017

Second half blitz stuns SUNS

Gold Coast started brightly before a strong second half from Melbourne saw them come away with a 35-point victory.

8:32pm  May 27, 2017

I look forward to it every year: Martin

The opportunity to represent his tribe on a national stage is a humbling experience for Jack Martin.

11:05am  May 27, 2017

Rise of the small forwards

Sam Brodie  May 17, 2017 9:00 AM

AFL 2017 Round 07 - Gold Coast v Geelong

In the modern game of AFL, the role of a small forward has become increasingly important to the success of the team.

Players such as Eddie Betts, Cyril Rioli and more recently, Toby Greene have been the key to their teams’ success with their goals, forward pressure and ability to work up the ground to provide an option when the ball is coming out of defence.

The Gold Coast SUNS have been fortunate to have two small forwards in Callum Ah Chee and Brandon Matera play this role throughout the first half of the 2017 season.

Matera and Ah Chee hadn’t cemented their positions at the beginning of the year.

Both crafty, exciting forwards have spent time in the NEAFL to work on different aspects of their game and have benefited greatly once they returned to the AFL side.

After the SUNS' round four win over Carlton, in his post-match press conference Senior Coach Rodney Eade claimed Matera was in career-best form. But it wasn’t the goals and disposals Eade was judging Matera on, it was simply on the back of improved work rate.

Beginning his 2017 season in the reserves, Matera was quick to impress and earned a call up to the AFL side following a 31 possession, 4 goal game in the NEAFL side’s round one loss to GWS Giants.

In his first game back in AFL action, Matera amazed, kicking six second half goals to help Gold Coast record a historic 86-point victory over Hawthorn.

On the back of that positive start to the year, Matera has gone on to average 17.2 disposals a game, using the ball well with an impressive disposal efficiency of 77.7% to date.

The 25-year-old has kicked 15 goals this season; with an average of 2.5 a game. Notably, Matera also averages a further 6.5 score involvements, showing how dangerous and influential the small forward can be as he enters his seventh season in the AFL.

Although Matera has been a part of the SUNS for some time now, his younger counterpart Ah Chee is entering just his second season at the Gold Coast and has shown exciting signs, particularly in the past month.

The 2015 No. 8 draft pick started the season across the half forward line. The coaching staff however decided to send him back to the NEAFL in round three to regain some confidence and work on rounding out his game.

The way Ah Chee responded impressed everyone at SUNS headquarters.

He has booted 10 goals in his last three games alone, including a five goal haul against Adelaide in round five, together with 10 tackles, showing the defensive pressure he applies that often goes largely unnoticed.

At just 19, Ah Chee has continued to enthuse SUNS’ fans, showing glimpses of the excitement and goal kicking prowess, which will continue to improve as he develops in future years.

Unfortunately, following the round seven win over Geelong, Ah Chee suffered a back injury resulting in him missing the historic trip to China.

Brandon Matera has continued to lead the small forward brigade on the Gold Coast and excite fans with the development of not only Ah Chee, but also draftee Ben Ainsworth through the early parts of the year before his quad injury.

The recent performances of Matera and Ah Chee have provided some much needed support for the likes of Tom Lynch and Peter Wright and as a forward group, they will be looking to build upon the form they have shown at times already this season.