The Gold Coast SUNS have selected three rookies on the final day of the AFL Draft period, adding Northern Territory SUNS Academy product Lloyd Johnston and experienced duo Connor Blakely and Jake Stein.
Johnston, a rebounding half-back with elite speed and an accurate kick, was pre-selected as a rookie prior to the NAB AFL Rookie Draft.
GC SUNS National Recruiting Manager Kall Burns said the club was thrilled to add another Territorian to its list.
“Lloyd has a great story and is another product from Darwin to come out of our Academy zone,” Burns said.
“Some of our fans might have seen Lloyd play a couple of VFL games for us this year – he plays off half-back and is a highly talented and athletic player who is a beautiful kick and brings great energy and excitement.
“We’ve tracked Lloyd for a long time and have been really pleased with his progress so we’re excited to bring him into our group.”
A proud Yanyuwa man, Johnston hails from a small town called Borroloola, approximately 1000km south east of Darwin.
The exciting defender comes to the club with pre-existing relationships, having spent two weeks training with the SUNS while the club was stationed in Darwin during the 2022 AFL season.
Experienced duo Connor Blakely and Jake Stein joined the SUNS through the NAB AFL Rookie Draft with selections 7 and 23 respectively.
Blakely has been given a second opportunity with the SUNS after spending the previous eight seasons with Fremantle.
The 26-year-old has 78 games of AFL experience to his name and has the versatility to play either in defence or the midfield.
Stein joins the SUNS after six seasons with GWS, where he played 20 AFL matches as a key defender.
“We had a really targeted attack to bring in some mature players with genuine AFL experience to our group, to complement our young talent and play a strong role for our team,” Burns said.
“Connor already has strong relationships with a couple of our players in Lachie Weller and Sam Collins and is someone the playing group wanted as a teammate so we’re really happy to secure Connor.
“Jake gives us some maturity and depth down back with our key defensive stocks – he’s played a lot of football this year with GWS and can slot straight in when required to play a role for us on match day.”
Prior to the Rookie Draft, the SUNS also upgraded former rookies Ned Moyle and Levi Casboult to the club’s Primary List.
Johnston, Blakely and Stein join pick 6 Bailey Humphrey as new recruits for the SUNS through the Draft period.