2021 saw a number of young SUNS make an impact in their first year of professional football, with two making their AFL debuts this season.
SUNS Media has analysed the year that was for the club’s first-year players.
Jeffrey was the first of the draftees to play AFL football this year. A SUNS Academy product from Darwin, Jeffrey was impactful at VFL level kicking 21 goals in nine games. This was highlighted by a dominant nine goal performance against Aspley in Round 15. Making his debut in Round 20 of the AFL season, Jeffrey immediately impressed with his size and skill as a key-position forward. His first AFL goal came in his second game against Carlton. Billed as a talent for the future, Jeffrey will look to build his chemistry with current key forward Ben King going into the 2022 season.
A highly-touted SUNS Academy junior from Cairns, Davies was another added as a pre-selection prior to the 2021 NAB AFL Draft. Davies had a standout year for the SUNS VFL, playing predominately in the midfield and against some stars of the competition including Stephen Coniglio. Playing in 10 matches, Davies averaged 17.5 disposals as well as 6.1 tackles demonstrating his inside presence at the contest. His strong, consistent year in the VFL was rewarded with his AFL debut in round 23 against the Sydney Swans. He proved he belonged at AFL level with an eye-catching debut performance which included 16 disposals and had six tackles further showing that he belonged at AFL level.
Fyfe was added to the rookie list as a SUNS Academy pre-selection prior to the 2020 NAB AFL Draft. Having developed his game for the Broadbeach Cats, Fyfe is a product of the Gold Coast talent pathways. In his first year at the SUNS, Fyfe played in seven VFL matches averaging 18.7 disposals. Missing the middle potion of the year through illness, 2021 has been a year focussed on development for Fyfe. He returned to play in the last part of the year for the SUNS VFL and showed glimpses of his potential.
Nicholls was also added to the SUNS rookie list in 2021 as an Academy pre-selection. Another development player in a rising stock of SUNS defenders, Nicholls played five rounds of VFL before being sidelined with stress fractures in his back. 2021 has been a year to develop his body and prepare him for the 2022 season. in his five matches Nicholls averaged 12.2 disposals and 3.4 marks.
Hollands was drafted by the SUNS at pick 7 in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft. Coming to the club with a pre-existing ACL injury, Hollands was slowly integrated into the training program for his return to play. He made his club debut in Round 10 of the VFL, kicking one goal and having 10 disposals. Hollands went on to play two more games official VFL games before finishing the year playing in practice matches. His final outing at VFL demonstrated why pundits believed he was one of the best midfielders in the 2020 draft, having 27 touches in a resounding win over the Aspley Hornets.
Moyle was a 2021 NAB AFL Mid-Season draftee. The 205cm ruckman impressed in two VFL outings for the SUNS this year. After playing the beginning of the year for Collingwood’s VFL team, Moyle was selected with Pick 5 and looked right at home in the ruck for the SUNS VFL, collecting 13 and 11 disposals respectively in his VFL appearances. Since coming to the club, Moyle has impressed with the development of his ruck craft and willingness to learn, giving optimism for next season.