SUNS Media dissect some of the key takeaways from Saturday night’s season opener against the Sydney Swans, thanks to SIXT. 

New faces on the block

The two new faces in the line-up & two that SUNS fans can be excited about watching in years to come. Local product Bodhi Uwland looked right at home at AFL level on debut, collecting 20 disposals, while Ben Long provided some much need composure, going at 85% disposal efficiency off half-back.

Round 1 at Heritage Bank Stadium

Three years had passed since the GC SUNS last hosted a home fixture at Heritage Bank Stadium in Round 1 and you have to go back to 2017 since the last opening round fixture on the Gold Coast with crowds permitted. Thanks to all 13,648 fans who attended on Saturday night!

Pressure game crucial

Senior coach Stuart Dew conceded that his side were put under more pressure than they dished out, with the SUNS outworked and outnumbered around the contest. The SUNS will be looking to rectify that on Sunday afternoon against the Bombers at Marvel Stadium.

Big Witts’ big game

There were only 78 hitouts for the game of which SUNS captain Jarrod Witts alone had 51. The SUNS big man was dominant in the ruck whilst also winning plenty of the ball to finish with 25 touches and a game-high 10 clearances. 

Return of the King

It had been 574 days since his last outing in SUNS colours and it was fantastic to see Ben King back in action on the Gold Coast, highlighted by a centimetre-perfect drop punt tucked up against the boundary. His involvement will only continue to grow from 74% time-on-ground in coming weeks. 

Rowell rolls into 2023

The young talent who finally got a full season under his belt in 2023 after an injury-hampered beginning to his career continues to excite SUNS fans, finishing with 28 disposals, an equal-team high eight tackles and nine clearances – a stat only bettered by his ruckman.