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.
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).