The Gold Coast SUNS have wrapped up its AFLW pre-season preparations with a defeat in Saturday morning’s practice match against the Lions.

The Lions proved too clinical, kicking goals in each of the four quarters to run out 48-point winners.

Speaking post-match, Head Coach Cameron Joyce says the SUNS will take plenty of learnings out of the final hitout before Round 1.

“I don’t think that the score necessarily reflected the way the game was played. I thought we defended reasonably well across the day, the reality was we weren’t able to hit the scoreboard.

“There were a number of opportunities throughout the day where we put ourselves under more pressure than we needed to. We just needed to have more composure with the ball, be cleaner going forward with the ball and execute a bit better.

“If we were able to do that, there were certainly opportunities we left on the table.”

The SUNS fielded 24 players throughout the game, including seven of its off-season recruits. Meara Girvan and Niamh McLaughlin did their chances of an AFLW debut in Round 1 no harm with strong showings inside defensive 50 while fellow potential 2023 debutants Alana Gee and Darcie Davies were also influential.

“We had some really strong performances in defence which is pleasing going into Round 1. We just need to generate a bit more in offence from that strong defence,” Joyce added.

“We played everyone who was available. That’s important that we keep our squad active and to keep integrating the new players in to get that synergy right and the right 21 players for Round 1 against Carlton.”

The SUNS next challenge is the opening round fixture against the Blues at IKON Park on Saturday, September 2.