The Gold Coast SUNS will crown this year’s Club Champion on Sunday night at The Star in Broadbeach.
There will be a host of awards announced on the night, and SUNS Media have taken a look at some of the contenders for this year.
Last season it was vice-captain Sam Collins who claimed his maiden Club Champion after a stellar individual season, but this year the man to beat is his fellow vice-captain Touk Miller. Miller is a front-runner to finally win his first Club Champion after a record-breaking season. The 25-year-old last week became the SUNS’ first All-Australian in five years and continue to raise the bar each season. Miller finished the regular season ranked second in the AFL for total tackles, and fifth for average disposals. He also finished top five in the AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year Award which bodes well for his chances of adding 2021 Club Champion to his growing list of achievements.
Collins is another who could still push for a top-three finish, although missing three games through the middle of the year may see him lose some ground. Breakout defender Wil Powell played all 22 games this season and is another who could finish on the podium for the first time in his young career. Skipper David Swallow continues to be a consistent performer and will poll well on the night while Noah Anderson should also feature prominently after winning the AFLCA Best Young Player award last week.
Other contenders: Jack Lukosius, Charlie Ballard, Sean Lemmens
Elastoplast Emerging Player:
This award is given to the young player who the coaches believe has taken the biggest leap in their development this season. Noah Anderson is the incumbent winner of the award while Charlie Ballard won the season prior. Anderson has taken another step this year and could be a back-to-back winner after averaging 23 disposals from his 20 games this year.
Sam Flanders is a strong chance as well, breaking through to play 16 games in his second year at the club. Another to keep an eye on is Jeremy Sharpwho came in to play nine games in the second half of the year, earning a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination in Round 18.
Other contenders: Jy Farrar, Joel Jeffrey, Malcolm Rosas Jnr
HOSTPLUS Most Professional:
This award is voted by the high performance staff and goes to the player who has set the highest standards for their training. Previous winners have been Touk Miller (2020), Jack Bowes (2019) and Darcy Macpherson (2018). Miller continues to be one of the most professional at the club so could be in line for back-to-back honours. Other contenders are players like Jack Hombsch, Brayden Fiorini, Ben Ainsworth and Sam Flanders.
The SUNS playing group votes for an individual each year who has lived the club’s values both on and off the field as the Players’ Player. Incredibly, the past two seasons have seen the same joint winners of the award in David Swallow & Touk Miller. Both players are once again firmly in contention to make it three in a row.
Meanwhile Sam Collins hold tremendous respect amongst the players and fellow backman Wil Powell is a popular teammate. Sean Lemmens is another who can be relied upon to play his role each week.
Other contenders: Charlie Ballard, Noah Anderson, Nick Holman
Other awards: Male Academy Player of the Year, Female Academy Player of the Year, VFL Player of the Year, Community Award, Life Membership