As a full squad, the Gold Coast SUNS QW Winter Series side had only trained together once before their match on Saturday.

There were women flying in from all over the country to represent the SUNS, assembling 49 hours before Game 1.

It was a big day for AFLW Senior Coach David Lake, who was also making his senior coaching debut.

Lake was optimistic after the final siren, praising the efforts of his players, particularly those who are vying for one of the 14 remaining AFLW list positions.

“At the end of the day yeah you want to win on the scoreboard because that’s what everyone sees and measures in the end,” Lake said. 

“But from my point of view, I’ve got to find 14 players and find the right 14 players. 

“I’ve got to find out what they bring and how they complement what I’ve got so I need to try things. 

“If that costs me, it won’t cost me later on – it might just cost me now in a game that’s all about development and planning.”

Skippering the side for the first game, 18-year-old Jacqui Yorston praised the way the team were able to come together on such short notice. 

“The first quarter was a bit rough and then after that we kind of went and played the footy we wanted,” Yorston told SUNS Media.

“I think that reflects how well our group can potentially go with how quickly we came together and I’m very happy with how we went.”

It was Lake’s first opportunity to see 13 of his AFLW-listed players in action and Yorston said he was a fantastic sounding board both before and after the match. 

“Lakey’s message is we’re always learning, we’re just going to grow and grow,” Yorston said. 

“Before the game it was there’s no mistakes, you take the game on and play footy.

“Whatever the result is, whether we win, drew or lost, he was going to be happy because we went out there and we attacked it.

“We went hard at the footy and we tackled and did all the things we went out there to do.”

There were many who stood up on the day. 

Sam Virgo captained admirably alongside Yorston, while Sally Riley displayed strong leadership potential and was impressive in defence.

The club’s three inaugural signings Charlotte Hammans, Kitara Whap-Farrar and Ellie Hampson all stood up also.

Townsville-based Hampson was arguably one of Gold Coast’s best afield and said she loved the tough contest against the Brisbane Lions.

“It was really exciting, I can’t stop smiling,” she said post-match. 

“We didn’t come away with the win but there’s definitely a great culture and I’m just so happy to be a part of the team and really be in there with those girls.

“It’s not about the win at the end of the day it’s just about how we went and how we progressed as the game went on and I think that was what we can all be happy about.” 

The SUNS will have four weeks to prepare for Game 2 against the Lions which will be held at Great Barrier Reef Arena in Mackay on June 23.