The Gold Coast SUNS were established in 2009 with the promise of bringing bold, fresh, community-focused football to the people of the Gold Coast, a community they share a deep connection with.
The SUNS have worked hard to promote the growth of AFL in Queensland, with participation in junior football, the women’s game and Auskick programs up 82% overall.
In the last nine years the club and players have committed to more than 45,000 community volunteering hours with a strong focus on key social projects tackling domestic violence, youth homelessness and regional needs. This, combined with the development of Metricon Stadium and an average contribution to the local economy of some $38 million per year, means the the SUNS are not only part of the future of Australian football but also an integral part of the Gold Coast’s story.
April 22, 2008 - The Australian Football League formally invited a group of Gold Coast business and community representatives to form a board to participate in a six month process to demonstrate an AFL licence for a new team based on the Gold Coast had all the foundations for long-term success. GC17 was born.
The process established the structural elements and framework that the Gold Coast group had to deliver before a licence was granted.
The GC17 Bid Team was led by Minter Ellison Gold Coast managing partner John Witheriff, ex-Brisbane Lions president Graeme Downie and Southport Football Club president Dr Alan Mackenzie, CEO of the Gold Coast City Council Dale Dickson and Gold Coast Bulletin Editor-in-Chief Bob Gordon.
June 2008 - It is revealed the Gold Coast Football Club (GCFC) will have a side compete in the Under 18 TAC Cup side in 2009, and then the VFL in 2010.
August 2008 - Gold Coast appoint Guy McKenna as coach.
March 31, 2009 - AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou grants a provisional license for the Gold Coast to have their own AFL team, commencing in 2011.
April 4, 2009 - Gold Coast play their first match in the TAC Cup, going down by 38 points to the Eastern Ranges.
April 12, 2009 - Gold Coast record their first win in the TAC Cup, defeating the Western Jets by 134 points.
May 15, 2009 - Highly respected Essendon administrator Travis Auld joins the Gold Coast as CEO.
July 29, 2009 - Brisbane Broncos fullback Karmichael Hunt stuns the sporting world by announcing he will be switching codes and plying his trade in the AFL with the Gold Coast Football Club, commencing in 2010.
September 13, 2009 - After winning their elimination final, Gold Coast bow out of the finals of the TAC Cup, going down to the Geelong Falcons by 41 points in the semi-final.
October 2009 - Coach Guy McKenna has his contract extended until the end of the 2012 season.
December 15, 2009 - Gold Coast select Daniel Harris, Michael Coad, Sam Iles and Danny Stanley in the AFL rookie draft to bolster their squad for the 2010 VFL season.
March 15, 2010 - Gold Coast Stadium, Carrara, will undergo a refurbishment and will be the home of the Gold Coast Football Club. It will be known as Metricon Stadium.
April 10, 2010 - Gold Coast makes its VFL debut, going down to Port Melbourne by 12 points.
April 2010 - Gold Coast reaches 5000 members for the first time.
May 15, 2010 - Gold Coast wins their first game of the VFL season (after a draw in Round 3), defeating Geelong by 28 points.
June 12, 2010 - Karmichael Hunt makes his VFL debut for Gold Coast against Coburg Tigers and kicks two goals.
July 22, 2010 - The GCFC reveals its nickname, team colours and team song ahead of its AFL debut in 2011. They will be known as the Gold Coast SUNS, wearing red, gold and blue.
August 17, 2010 - Nathan Bock (Adelaide Crows) is announced as a Gold Coast SUNS uncontracted player signing.
August 21, 2010 - Gold Coast play their final game in the VFL, and are defeated by Collingwood by 50 points at Victoria Park.
September 2010 - Sam Iles is named as the Gold Coast Club Champion in their VFL season.
September 1, 2010 - Nathan Krakouer (Port Adelaide) is another uncontracted player signing for the SUNS.
September 7, 2010 - Brisbane Lions Best & Fairest winner Michael Rischitelli joins the SUNS as an uncontracted player signing.
September 14, 2010 - Hawthorn premiership player Campbell Brown announces he will be joining the SUNS as an uncontracted player signing.
September 21, 2010 - Jarrod Harbrow (Western Bulldogs) reveals he will be heading home and joining the SUNS as an uncontracted player signing.
September 29, 2010 - After months of speculation, the SUNS reveal they have sealed the signature of the 2009 Brownlow Medallist and dual Geelong premiership player Gary Ablett to a five-year deal.
October 7, 2010 - Former Number 1 National Draft Selection Josh Fraser (Collingwood), and mercurial Brisbane Lions forward Jared Brennan join the SUNS via a three-way trade.
November 18, 2010 - Holding eight of the first 13 selections at the National Draft, the SUNS are able to select the cream of the young talent around Australia. They duly select David Swallow (Number 1), Harley Bennell (2), Sam Day (3), Josh Caddy (7), Dion Prestia (9), Daniel Gorringe (10), Tom Lynch (11) and Seb Tape (13). They also select Jeremy Taylor (39) and Jacob Gillbee (49).
December 7, 2010 - The SUNS select Nathan Ablett, younger brother of Gary Ablett, with the number one selection in the Pre Season Draft.
January 19, 2011 - The SUNS announce their leadership group for their debut season, with Gary Ablett named as captain. Nathan Bock is announced as vice-captain, with Campbell Brown deputy vice-captain.
April 2, 2011 - After a Round 1 bye, the wait was over for the SUNS as they make their AFL debut against Carlton at the Gabba in Brisbane. In front of 27,914 fans, the SUNS endure a difficult night, going down by 119 points. Charlie Dixon kicks the SUNS first ever goal in the AFL.
B: S. Tape, N. Bock, C. Brown
HB: N. Krakouer, K. Hunt, J. Harbrow
C: T. McKenzie, D. Harris, M. Rischitelli
HF: D. Stanley, C. Dixon, A. Magin
F: J. Brennan, Z. Smith, B. Matera
FOLL: J. Fraser, D. Swallow, G. Ablett
I/C: M. Lock, H. Bennell, D. Prestia, J. Toy (Sub)
EMG: M. Weller, D. Gorringe, M. Coad
First Win: April 23, 2011 - Despite trailing by 40 points in the third quarter, the Gold Coast SUNS record their maiden victory in the AFL, defeating Port Adelaide by three points at AAMI Stadium.
First QClash: May 7, 2011 - The inaugural QClash between the SUNS and the Brisbane Lions is an absolute thriller, with the SUNS holding on for an eight point victory to claim bragging rights. Former Lion Jared Brennan is awarded the Marcus Ashcroft Medal as best afield.
The SUNS play first AFL game on the Gold Coast: May 28, 2011 - The SUNS play their first match at their refurbished home ground, Metricon Stadium, against Geelong. They SUNS take it up to the Cats, leading at half time before running out of legs and going down by 66 points. The match is memorable for Karmichael Hunt's first goal in the AFL, a booming 60 metre effort on the run.
First AFL Game played in far North Queensland: July 16, 2011 - In the first match played for premiership points in far North Queensland, the Gold Coast Suns defeat Richmond by 15 points to record their third win of the season.
Inaugural Club Champion Named: September 9, 2011 - SUNS skipper Gary Ablett is unsurprisingly named as the clubs inaugural Club Champion. Nathan Bock finishes runner-up, with Michael Rischitelli in third place.
Gold Coast SUNS reach 10,000 members: February 28, 2012 – In just the club’s second year in the AFL, the SUNS broke through the 10,0000 member mark prior to the 2012 season.
Inaugural Ladies Lunch: July 2012 - The Gold Coast SUNS hosted their first ever Ladies Lunch to celebrate the Women of the SUNS (WOTS).
Gary Ablett wins Marcus Ashcroft Medal: July 21, 2012 – Gary Ablett wins the SUNS’ second Marcus Ashcroft Medal in the QClash at Metricon Stadium. He had 37 disposals and a goal in the loss.
First win at Metricon Stadium: August 11, 2012 - The SUNS celebrate their maiden victory at Metricon Stadium with a five goal win over new boys the GWS Giants.
First ever Homeless Sleep-out: June 1, 2013 - Over 250 Gold Coasters braved the cold weather on the first night of winter, as the Gold Coast SUNS held the inaugural Homeless Sleep-Out at Metricon Stadium in a bid to raise awareness and support for youth homelessness.
O’Meara claims NAB Rising Star: September 4, 2013 - Jaeger O'Meara capped off an outstanding debut season by winning the NAB AFL Rising Star Award from Adelaide's Brad Crouch, with Port Adelaide's Oliver Wines finishing third.
O'Meara polled 44 of a possible 45 votes to win by 13 votes from Crouch, with Wines finishing on 26 votes ahead of North Melbourne's Aaron Mullett and Sydney Swan Tom Mitchell who tied on 11 votes in equal fourth.
O'Meara was the strong favourite heading into the Rising Star announcement in Melbourne after a stellar debut season when he played all 22 of the Suns' games and averaged 21.6 disposals and kicked 16 goals.
Gary Ablett wins Brownlow Medal: September 23, 2013 - Ablett polled three votes for his dominant display against Greater Western Sydney in the final round to pip his close friend and former teammate Joel Selwood by one vote to win the 2013 Brownlow Medal.
Ablett became just the fifth man to win a Brownlow at his second AFL club. He joined Ian Stewart (St Kilda and Richmond), Peter Moore (Collingwood and Melbourne), Greg Williams (Sydney and Carlton) and Chris Judd (West Coast and Carlton) as footballers who have achieved the feat.
He is also the 14th multiple winner of the medal, which was first presented in 1924.
Ablett mounted his charge from Round 7, polling 16 of a possible 18 votes over the next six matches including being best afield against Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs, Hawthorn and North Melbourne. That took him to 20 votes, equalling the best tally from the first 12 matches in a Brownlow count.
Virgin Australia extend partnership: October 2, 2013 - The Gold Coast SUNS and Virgin Australia signed a new sponsorship deal extending their foundation agreement for an additional five years.
Fiat unveiled as GC SUNS co-major partner: October 25, 2013 - Fiat joined the SUNS as a co-major partner on a three-year deal which would see their logo displayed on the back of the SUNS jumper for home games and on the front for away games.
Metricon Stadium hosts Big Day Out: January 19, 2013 - Metricon Stadium hosted its first music festival with the 20th anniversary Big Day Out relocating to the stadium and surrounding Carrara precinct.
SUNS reach 10,000 members again: March 3, 2014 - The Gold Coast SUNS reached 10,000 Members prior to the 2014 season, the fifth consecutive year the club reached 10k members.
Gary Ablett wins second Marcus Ashcroft Medal: April 5, 2014 – Ablett was at his best at Metricon Stadium that night, kicking three goals and racking up 38 disposals to go with his 10 tackles for the match. The SUNS won the QClash by 53 points.
Rodney Eade appointed Senior Coach: October 30, 2014 - The Gold Coast SUNS unveiled Rodney Eade as its new senior coach. Before joining the SUNS Eade had coached 314 games for 162 wins. He led the Swans into a Grand Final in 1996 and the Western Bulldogs to three preliminary finals between 2008-2010. He coached these clubs into nine finals series in 14 seasons. He also played in four premierships with Hawthorn.
Huawei comes on board as official partner: April 2, 2015 - The Gold Coast SUNS and Huawei Australia announced a five-year sponsorship which saw Huawei become the club’s official technology and ball partner.
Gold Coast SUNS secure permanent training and administration base: April 12, 2015 - The Australian Government announced it will provide $15 million towards the construction of a permanent training and administration base for the Gold Coast SUNS in the Metricon Stadium precinct. The total cost of the project is estimated at $22 million. The AFL and the SUNS will jointly contribute $7 million. GC SUNS Chairman, John Witheriff, welcomed the funding announcement, “This announcement is the final piece of the puzzle in establishing the infrastructure required to secure an elite AFL team on the Gold Coast.”
Dixon wins Marcus Ashcroft Medal in QClash 9: May 2, 2015 – Charlie Dixon had a huge QClash in 2015, kicking a game-high six goals while also collecting 19 disposals. The SUNS won the match by 64 points.
Tom Lynch wins Marcus Ashcroft Medal in QClash 10: August 8, 2015 - It was a tight match at the Gabba in round 19, 2015, but a big game by Tom Lynch saw the SUNS get over the line, winning by 14 points. The tall forward kicked five goals from his 18 touches to win best on ground.
Fiat extend deal as co-major partner: September 11, 2015 – In 2015 Fiat joined the SUNS as co-major partner in an extended deal until the end of 2017. The deal saw the Fiat logo displayed on the front of the SUNS’ jerseys for all away matches as well as back-of-jumper rights for home matches.
Tom Lynch wins Club Champion: September 12, 2015 – Lynch took out the club’s major award, polling 131 votes to finish first in the Club Champion ahead of Kade Kolodjashnij (129) and Steven May (102). Lynch also claimed the Players' Player award for that season.
SUNS help celebrate 150 years of football in Queensland: March 22, 2016 - Representatives from all levels of Queensland football joined to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first AFL football game played in Queensland. SUNS captain Gary Ablett joined Lions captain Tom Rockliff and AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan to launch the season.
Touk Miller wins Marcus Ashcroft Medal in QClash 12: July 9, 2016 - A 27-disposal effort combined with 11 tackles saw Touk Miller take out the Marcus Ashcroft Medal for best aground in QClash 12. The SUNS won the game by 26 points.
Tom Lynch receives first All-Australian selection: September 1, 2016 - Capping off a stellar year, Tom Lynch was rewarded for his fine form with a place in the All-Australian side. The spearhead played all 22 games where he kicked 66 goals to finish third in the Coleman medal race. Lynch also led the AFL in contested marks with 62 and finished fifth overall for marks with 153 for the season.
Lynch goes back-to-back with Club Champion: September 2, 2016 – Then vice-captain of the SUNS, Tom Lynch polled a total of 209 votes in the 2016 Club Champion, an impressive 80 votes clear of the nearest competitor. Jarrod Harbrow finished in second with 129 votes ahead of Jack Martin in third on 102.
Lynch and May appointed co-captains for 2017: December 8, 2016 – After sharing the co-captaincy duties for seven games when Gary Ablett was injured, SUNS coach Rodney Eade made the decision to appoint the two permanently in 2017.
SUNS unveil new Elite Training and Administration Base: February 9, 2017 - The club's administration and football staff moved into the new facilities which include a gym, change rooms, a three-lane pool, hot and cold baths and a medical room.
Gold Coast SUNS play for competition points in China: May 14, 2017 - the Gold Coast Suns and Port Adelaide played the first ever AFL match for premiership points in Shanghai, China, attracting a crowd of 10,114 at Jiangwan Stadium. Port Adelaide won the game by 72 points.
Gary Ablett plays 300th game: July 1, 2017 - Gary Ablett played his 300th AFL match against the Kangaroos in Round 15, 2017. Ablett had 37 disposals and the SUNS won by 19 points.
AFLW licence granted for 2020: September 27, 2017 - The Gold Coast SUNS successfully obtained an AFLW licence for the 2020 season. The successful bid for a women’s licence was announced following a meeting of the AFL Commission.
Stuart Dew announced as new Senior Coach: October 5, 2017 - Stuart Dew was revealed as the new Senior Coach on a three-year deal. Dew, a dual premiership player at the Port Adelaide and Hawthorn Football Clubs, had been a development and assistant coach at the Sydney Swans for the last eight seasons. As Senior Assistant Coach at the Swans, Dew worked closely with Sydney Senior Coach John Longmire, playing a leading role in the Swans' sustained period of success, which has saw them reach the finals in each of those years.
Cover-More announced as major partner: November 21, 2017 - Cover-More Travel Insurance joined the club on a new partnership deal to become the exclusive travel insurance partner of the GC SUNS for five years.
SUNS play JLT match in Townsville: March 4, 2018 - As part of a deal with Tourism and Events Queensland, the SUNS played a pre-season match in Townsville against the Geelong Cats.
SUNS host Round 1 in Cairns: March 24, 2018 - The SUNS played a home game up in Cairns for the 2018 season opener against North Melbourne as part of a deal with Tourism and Events Queensland.
Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast: April 2018 - The 2018 Commonwealth Games were held on the Gold Coast meaning the SUNS' home venue Metricon Stadium was unavailable. Both the opening and closing ceremonies were held at Metricon Stadium while the SUNS played two matches in Perth during the Games.
Touk Miller wins Marcus Ashcroft Medal in QClash15: April 22, 2018 - Touk Miller played an outstanding role in limiting Brisbane Lions midfielder Dayne Zorko to just 10 disposals while gaining 21 of his own to win best on ground.
Gold Coast plays second AFL game in China: May 19, 2018 - The Gold Coast SUNS returned to Shanghai to face Port Adelaide again in wet conditions at Jiangwan Stadium.
Gold Coast returns to Metricon Stadium: June 2, 2018 - The SUNS played their first home game of 2018 after playing the first nine rounds on the road due to the Commonwealth Games. A pre-match show featured Gold Coast musician Amy Shark, a traditional Indigenous performance and a "thank-you" parade for Commonwealth Games volunteers.
SUNS make Women's Winter Series debut: June 9, 2018 - The Gold Coast SUNS fielded their first-ever women's side since earning an AFLW license when they played GWS Giants North in Sydney.
Gold Coast record first ever win over Sydney Swans: July 21, 2018 - In what was arguably the upset of the season, the SUNS were able to snap an 11-game losing streak with their first win over the Swans and first win at the SCG. Gold Coast overcame a 29-point deficit in the first quarter to storm home for a 24-point win.
Harbrow takes out Club Champion and earns Life Membership: September 1, 2018 - At the 2018 Club Champion Award, SUNS defender Jarrod Harbrow cleaned up by taking out his first Club Champion, winning the Players' Player and Community awards and also being inducted as a life member of the Gold Coast SUNS, the first player to be given the honour.
Unveiling the Austworld Centre: November 26, 2018 - On a day in which the club welcomed Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine, Ben King, Jez McLennan and Caleb Graham (draft class of 2018) to the Gold Coast, the club also unveiled local company Austworld as its inaugural naming rights partner of the club’s elite training and administration facility.
SUNS head to NZ for pre-season camp: December 14, 2018 - The entire Gold Coast playing list and coaching group flew to New Zealand for its first pre-season training camp under Stuart Dew. The camp consisted of a six-day program in Queenstown including team-building exercises, football sessions and education.
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.
Challenge Accepted Brand Launch: February 21, 2019 - The club unveiled a new direction and brand – Challenge Accepted – an attitude the entire club has adopted from the Board to the bench. “One community, one club, celebrating the game we love and the thrill of footy. We know it’s on us. That’s why we say Challenge Accepted.”
David Swallow and Jarrod Witts appointed co-captains: February 25, 2019 – After the pair signed contract extensions in the off-season, David Swallow and Jarrod Witts were announced as the club’s new co-captains for the 2019 season and beyond. The duo headlined a new-look leadership group which included vice-captains Touk Miller and Pearce Hanley, as well as Alex Sexton, Jarrod Harbrow, Brayden Fiorini and George Horlin-Smith.
SUNS play JLT Community Series match in Mackay: March 3, 2019 – The SUNS kicked off the 2019 season with a pre-season JLT Community Series match at Great Barrier Reef Arena in Mackay against the Western Bulldogs as part of the club’s partnership with Mackay Regional Council.
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.
Gold Coast play for premiership points in Townsville: June 15, 2019 – The Gold Coast SUNS hosted its first AFL Premiership match in Townsville, taking on St Kilda in Round 13 at Riverway Stadium.
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.
SUNS lodge childcare project application: August 12, 2019 - The Gold Coast SUNS, in partnership with Kool Kids Training College, lodged a Development Application with the Gold Coast City Council to build a state-of-the-art childcare facility within the Metricon Stadium precinct.
Michael Rischitelli announces retirement: August 20, 2019 - Inaugural SUN Michael Rischitelli called time on his AFL career after 242 games. Rischitelli joined the Gold Coast SUNS ahead of the club’s inaugural season in 2011, going on to play 131 games during his nine seasons on the Coast.
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.
Jarrod Witts crowned Club Champion: August 31, 2019 - SUNS co-captain Jarrod Witts claimed his first ever Best & Fairest, taking out the top award at Gold Coast’s 2019 Club Champion. He polled 553 votes to win comfortably ahead of fellow skipper and runner-up David Swallow (417 votes) and third-placed Darcy Macpherson (368 votes).
Michael Rischitelli inducted as Life Member: August 31, 2019 - Michael Rischitelli’s efforts over his nine seasons were rewarded with life membership of the Gold Coast Football Club. Rischitelli became the second player to be bestowed Life Membership after Jarrod Harbrow.
Mike Emmett joins SUNS Board: September 4, 2019 - The Gold Coast SUNS appointed Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of AUB Group, Mike Emmett, to the SUNS Board of Directors.
NT Government and AFL partner with SUNS: October 16, 2019 - The Gold Coast SUNS announced a new partnership with both the Northern Territory Government and AFL Northern Territory that will see the club continue to grow the game throughout its new Academy zone. As part of the announcement, one AFL game would be played in Darwin until 2023.
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.
ISC become new apparel partner: November 1, 2019 - The Gold Coast SUNS announced a new apparel partnership with ISC for two years, supplying the team’s playing and performance apparel as well as the club’s retail apparel range.
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 take five in 2019 NAB AFL Draft: November 28, 2019 - The Gold Coast SUNS secured some of the best talent in the country, selecting top prospects Matthew Rowell (pick one), Noah Anderson (pick two) and Sam Flanders (pick 11) in the national draft.