The Beginning

The Gold Coast SUNS made their official bid for an AFLW license in June 2017, a process completed alongside AFLQ to further the development and growth of women's football in Queensland.

The key pillars of the submission include;

Talent Ready: Queensland is the best placed state to divide talent, which the SUNS continue to develop alongside AFLQ.

Existing Facilities: Both training and match day facilities are ready to be utilised.

Embracing Integration: The club has a strong track record of embracing integration across existing football and community programs.

Embedded in Community: Community is a core value of the club and their programs throughout the Gold Coast and North Queensland enhance their opportunities for growth

Talent Academies: The club has established male and female talent Academies to help foster young talent and women’s pathways, aiding by three Olympic medallists.

Growing presence: An AFLW team allows the club to grow the presence of Australian Rules as a game for everyone on the Gold Coast and in Queensland.

New Market: A strategic partnership with North Queensland, the Suns Academy region, underlines the AFLW license.


Get Set For 2020

On September 27, 2017 the SUNS successfully obtained an AFLW license for the 2020 Season. It was a momentous occasion for the club, once which CEO Mark Evans said would inspire true equality for females thorughout Gold Coast, North Queensland and Northern New South Wales. 

We are incredibly proud to have the opportunity to establish a team for our girls. We may be non-traditional AFL markets, but the Gold Coast, North Queensland and Northern New South Wales are booming female participation markets and the girls deserve a team.

- SUNS CEO Mark Evans


SUNS begin AFLW Talent ID Days: January 23, 2018 – The Gold Coast SUNS begun to host AFLW Talent ID days across the Gold Coast, Townsville, Cairns and Mackay to identify potential AFLW talent and cross-code rookies. 

Gold Coast compete in first Women’s Winter Series: Saturday June 9, 2018 – In anticipation for entry into the AFLW competition in 2020, the SUNS played in a newly-developed three-game Winter Series against GWS Giants North, GWS Giants South and the Brisbane Lions. 

Fiona McLarty appointed as Head of Women’s Football: October 15, 2018 

Gold Coast granted full AFLW license: December 19, 2018 – Gold Coast’s provisional license was upgraded to full license status by the AFL.

Gold Coast sign three inaugural AFLW players: February 8, 2019 – The Gold Coast SUNS began its AFLW list build by securing a talented trio of SUNS Academy stars for its 2020 AFLW campaign. Charlotte Hammans, Ellie Hampson and Kitara Whap-Farrar made history as the first three players to be signed by the SUNS.

David Lake revealed as inaugural AFLW Senior Coach: March 5, 2019 – The Gold Coast SUNS announced David Lake as the club’s first AFLW coach, joining Head of Women’s Football Fiona McLarty in the women’s program.

SUNS acquire 13 players in AFLW Trade and Signing Period: April 18, 2019 – The Gold Coast SUNS AFLW team made major inroads to its list build by securing 13 players in the AFLW Sign & Trade period from other club.

SUNS compete in second QW Winter Series: May 25, 2019 – The Gold Coast SUNS competed in the new-look QW Winter Series for the second year, this time with three matches against the Brisbane Lions.

Women’s QW Winter Series match played in Mackay: June 23, 2019 – Gold Coast’s Women’s QW Winter Series team played the Brisbane Lions at Great Barrier Reef Arena in Mackay. It was the first women’s match played at the venue as a result of the partnership between the SUNS and Mackay Regional Council.

Griffith University partnership announced: August 21, 2019 One of Gold Coast’s most iconic institutions, Griffith University became the Official Research and Education partner of Gold Coast’s AFL and AFLW teams.

Sumo join as first-ever AFLW co-major partner: October 21, 2019 – The Gold Coast SUNS announced Sumo as the first co-major partner of the SUNS AFLW team for two years.

SUNS select eight in inaugural AFLW draft: October 22, 2019 – The Gold Coast SUNS drafted eight players in its inaugural AFLW draft, taking Academy product Serene Watson with its first-ever pick.

SUNS reveal first AFLW Indigenous clash guernsey: November 8, 2019 – The Gold Coast SUNS opted to utilise an Indigenous design for its inaugural AFLW clash guernsey to celebrate the club’s first year in the competition.

Inaugural AFLW coaching group announced: November 8, 2019 – The Gold Coast SUNS revealed its inaugural AFLW coaching group, with Andrew Swallow, Darryl White, John Taylor and Matt Bedford to join David Lake for the 2020 season. Kool Kids Training College was also announced as the inaugural AFLW Coaches’ Partner.

Harbour Town Premium Outlets sign on: November 14, 2019 – Harbour Town Premium Outlets signed on as an official partner of the AFLW program for the 2020 season.

SUNS begin pre-season for 2020 AFLW campaign: November 25, 2019 – With a full squad of 30 players, Gold Coast began its preseason campaign for the 2020 AFLW season.

Sam Virgo and Leah Kaslar appointed inaugural AFLW captains: January 30, 2020 – The SUNS announce Sam Virgo and Leah Kaslar as co-captains for the club’s debut AFLW season.

SUNS play first AFLW game: February 8, 2020 -  The SUNS travel to take on GWS in Round 1 of the 2020 NAB AFLW Season. The SUNS have 10 debutants in torrential conditions and go down by one point to the Giants.

First win in first AFLW match at Metricon Stadium: February 15, 2020 – The SUNS defeat Richmond by 11 points in the club’s first AFLW victory, in front of home fans at Metricon Stadium. Jamie Stanton starred with 20 disposals and a goal.

SUNS play first AFLW premiership match in Mackay: March 6, 2020 – As part of the partnership with Mackay Regional Council, the SUNS host its first AFLW match in Mackay, taking on the Geelong Cats in Round 5 at Great Barrier Reef Arena.

SUNS AFLW team reaches club’s maiden finals appearance: March 21, 2020 – The SUNS qualify for the AFLW finals and travel to Perth for a second successive week to take on Fremantle in the semi-final. After the SUNS go down to the Dockers, the AFLW competition is called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic with no premier crowned.

Kalinda Howarth named an AFLW All Australian: April 27, 2020 – Kalinda Howarth caps off a stellar debut season with selection in the 2020 Toyota AFL Women’s All Australian team. Howarth booted nine goals in seven games to finish equal-third in the league’s overall goalkicking. Howarth also earned a NAB AFLW Rising Star nomination in Round 3.

Jamie Stanton crowned inaugural AFLW Club Champion: May 5, 2020 – SUNS midfielder Jamie Stanton takes out the club’s first AFLW Club Champion award after also being nominated for the All Australian squad. Lauren Ahrens and Jade Pregelj finished joint runners-up in the award.

Alison Drennan joins the SUNS: August 13, 2020 – The SUNS recruit St Kilda inside midfielder Alison Drennan to the club’s AFLW list on the deadline day of the 2020 AFLW Sign & Trade period.

SUNS add six in 2020 AFLW Draft: October 7, 2020 – The SUNS draft five SUNS Academy products; Annise Bradfield, Daisy D’Arcy, Maddison Levi, Lucy Single and Wallis Randell, as well as NT product Janet Baird, Sarah Perkins and Bess Keaney to bolster the AFLW list for 2021.

Hannah Dunn and Sam Virgo appointed 2021 AFLW Captains: January 18, 2021 – The club reveals a new-look AFLW leadership group, headlined by the appointment of Hannah Dunn as captain alongside Sam Virgo. Jamie Stanton, Jade Pregelj and Sarah Perkins are also named in the leadership group.

Lauren Bella receives NAB AFLW Rising Star nomination: March 16, 2021 – Young AFLW ruck Lauren Bella is rewarded for her outstanding form with a NAB AFLW Rising Star nomination in Round 7.

Lauren Ahrens wins 2021 AFLW Club Champion: April 11, 2021 – Key defender Lauren Ahrens claims her maiden AFLW Club Champion award after a standout season which also saw her nominated for the All Australian squad. New recruit Alison Drennan finished second followed by first-year player Daisy D’Arcy in third.

Cameron Joyce appointed as AFLW Head Coach: June 1, 2021 – After inaugural AFLW Head Coach David Lake decided to resign at the conclusion of the 2021 NAB AFLW season, the Gold Coast SUNS appoint Cameron Joyce as full-time AFLW Head Coach.

Claudia Whitfort and Vivien Saad join the SUNS: June 9, 2021 – The SUNS add midfielder Claudia Whitfort (St Kilda) and forward/ruck Vivien Saad (North Melbourne) during the 2021 AFLW Sign & Trade Period.

Four new draftees join AFLW squad: July 27, 2021 – Holding the number one overall pick, the SUNS select Victorian Charlie Rowbottom in the 2021 NAB AFLW Draft after she nominated for the Queensland draft pool. The SUNS also select three Academy products in Teagan Levi (pick 6), NT player Ashanti Bush (pick 8) and Giselle Davies (pick 30).

SUNS unveil inaugural AFLW Pride Guernsey – January 18, 2022 – The GC SUNS officially unveil its first AFLW Pride Guernsey, to be worn in the AFLW Pride Round QClash against the Brisbane Lions.

Ellie Hampson receives NAB AFLW Rising Star nomination – February 14, 2022 – A 16 disposal, six-clearance and one-goal performance in Round 6 earns Ellie Hampson a NAB AFLW Rising Star nomination

Trio selected in AFLPA AFLW 22Under22 Team – March 29, 2022 – SUNS AFLW midfield trio Charlie Rowbottom, Claudia Whitfort and Ellie Hampson are all selected in the final Season Six 22Under22 Team.

Charlie Rowbottom named Best First Year Player – April 6, 2022 – Fresh off a stellar debut AFLW season, Charlie Rowbottom is voted by her peers as the AFLW Players’ Best First Year Player.

Alison Drennan earns inaugural AFLW Club Champion– April 9, 2022 – SUNS midfielder Alison Drennan takes out her first AFLW Club Champion, finishing ahead of runner-up Charlie Rowbottom by a single vote with Jamie Stanton finishing third.

SUNS add three at AFLW Draft – June 29, 2022 – Two SUNS Academy graduates are drafted to the club’s AFLW list with Mackay product Alana Gee taken at Pick 19 and Gold Coaster Jasmyn Smith selected at Pick 52. Tasmanian Claire Ransom is also drafted with Pick 34.

Tara Bohanna named AFLW captain – August 10, 2022 – Ahead of her second season for the SUNS, Tara Bohanna is appointed as the club’s new AFLW captain. Bess Keaney and Jamie Stanton are named joint vice-captains with Ellie Hampson rounding out a four-person leadership group.

Daisy D’Arcy earns NAB AFLW Rising Star nomination – September 5, 2022 – In her third season at the SUNS, Daisy D’Arcy’s stellar performance in Round 2 against the West Coast Eagles earns her a NAB AFLW Rising Star nomination.

Charlie Rowbottom named AFLW Club Champion – November 5, 2022 – In her second season of AFLW, Charlie Rowbottom wins the Season 7 Club Champion followed by runner-up Alison Drennan and third-place Claudia Whitfort.

Ashanti Bush wins Goal of the Year – November 22, 2022 – A right-footed banana running towards the left pocket for just her second AFLW goal earns Ashanti Bush the AFLW Goal of the Year, awarded at the Season 7 Awards Night.

SUNS welcome three new faces in mammoth AFLW trade – March 17, 2023
The SUNS are involved in one of the biggest AFLW trades ever with five teams involved. The trade sees a trio of new faces enter the club in Clara Fitzpatrick, Jordan Membrey and Ella Maurer. The mega trade included seven players, six picks and five teams.

Two players drafted in supplementary AFLW draft – April 4, 2023 – Irish product Cara McCrossan is selected with Pick 6 in the AFLW Supplementary Draft. Shortly after, Meara Girvan, out of Bond University, is chosen with Pick 10.

SUNS record first win over Victorian opposition in Melbourne – September 16, 2023 – For the first time in club history the SUNS see off a Victorian opposition on their own turf, defeating Collingwood by 12 points at Victoria Park.

Darcie Davies earns AFLW Rising Star nomination – November 5, 2023 – SUNS Academy prospect Darcie Davies puts on a display in Round 10 against the Bombers in Mackay to earn a Rising Star nomination, the SUNS’ first of the 2023 AFLW season.

SUNS host first AFLW final at Heritage Bank Stadium – November 11, 2023 – For the first time in club history, the SUNS hosted an AFLW Elimination Final against the Sydney Swans at Heritage Bank Stadium with more than 2,700 fans in attendance

Charlie Rowbottom earns AFLW All Australian honours – November 27, 2023 – Charlie Rowbottom earns his maiden AFLW All Australian jacket, named on the interchange at the 2023 W Awards.

Claudia Whitfort wins maiden AFLW Club Champion – December 10, 2023 – Claudia Whitfort claims her first AFLW Club Champion award ahead of runner-up Charlie Rowbottom and third-place Daisy D’Arcy.