The Gold Coast SUNS have begun the 2023 Smithy’s VFL Premiership season with four wins from four and cemented their position in the Top 4 with a 56-point victory over North Melbourne on Sunday.
VFL Head Coach, Josh Drummond said the team have gone into each game with a clear focus, keeping their game simple and playing on their terms.
“That’s underpinned by a strong work ethic and intent… we’ve been pretty consistent with that, so we start the first half really strongly,” Drummond said.
“With a more mature and experienced VFL team, we’ve been able to be more consistent, which is good.
“We’ve been really clear with the boys about playing their role and looking to play the game at AFL intensity.
“We’re not asking anyone to be best on ground or do anything special, it’s just guys are really clear on their roles and what’s expected of them.
“When you’ve got 23 guys pushing and rowing the boat in the same direction, it can make a big difference. Often you can see that in the way we’re playing in the game, trying to pick your best players and it’s been a very even spread across the board, which as a coaching group we love."
From a coaching perspective, maintaining continuity in training is important, but presents a balancing act.
“I think continuity is huge for individuals, getting continuity is how you build confidence. You’ve got to continue to do things over and over again,” Drummond said.
“We’ve got really great availability at the moment. That continuity is certainly helping us and obviously at different stages, you look to try and maybe mix things up in terms of the way you present things or some of your messaging, just to help stimulate and create some energy.
“We’ve been really big on boys not getting bored with the process and to this point, it’s worked, and we know we’ll have some greater challenges going forward and Richmond will certainly be a challenge this week, but we can’t get bored with doing the same thing over and over if it’s getting the results."
Richmond, who are coming off the back of a close win over Casey, are the SUNS next opponent on Sunday morning at The Swinburne Centre in Melbourne.
“Their win last week against Casey was huge. Casey had not lost at home for nearly two years, they’ve been a really powerful footy club obviously,” Drummond said.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to go down and play at Punt Road and challenge ourselves against a team that would be full of confidence after beating the reigning premiers on their home deck.
“You don’t get more confidence in footy than playing the reigning premier on their home deck and knocking them off. They’ll be really confident after that performance”.
The SUNS VFL coaching staff have enjoyed the healthy headache that having a strong depth squad has presented, and the different challenges each game has posed.
“Every game has posed a slightly different challenge, and to this point we’ve been able to rise to those which the playing group have done a great job at,” Drummond said.
“Whether it be being well up against Geelong and having to keep the foot on the throat, or Sandringham where we were six goals down at quarter time and had to find a way to get back in the game.
“But we know this week, and we hope and expect we’re going to get challenged really, really strongly. We want that challenge."
Sunday’s game is at 11.05am with the stream live on AFL.com.au and on the Official AFL Live App