GC SUNS Assistant Coach Josh Drummond is thrilled to be back ‘where his heart is’ having been appointed to take charge of the SUNS defence in 2024.

The role isn’t unfamiliar to Drummond who previously took the reins as a line coach at both the SUNS and North Melbourne following a 94-game playing career deep in defence for the Brisbane Lions.

Drummond returns to the backline in the AFL program after leading the SUNS to an inaugural VFL Premiership in 2023.

“With a new coach coming in, it’s been super exciting. Everyone is refreshed and I’m loving being back coaching in defence. It’s a role I’ve done a bit in the past, both here and at North Melbourne,” Drummond said.

“It’s where I played most of my footy and where my heart is.

“I loved the year coaching the VFL side. On both sides, for the boys and myself, it was a great opportunity to challenge ourselves in other areas and I felt the year couldn’t have gone better.

“It was challenging in different ways. Obviously the end result was unbelievable and the boys had a great journey throughout the year.

“Personally, I learned a lot and it’ll make me a better coach going forward.”

The SUNS lost just two matches, both by a matter of points, en route to the 2023 VFL Premiership.

However, it was the development of the group that now has the entire squad knocking on the door for AFL selection that impressed Drummond the most.

“We all want to make the SUNS a formidable club at AFL level. You see the success at other clubs over the last decade or so… they’re not just strong clubs at AFL level, but VFL too,” he continued.

“Strong clubs have strong programs at both levels.

“For us, we’re a young club trying to learn how to win. I was pumped for the group of boys who will hopefully be long-term AFL players for us who will get so much of particularly the Preliminary and Grand Finals… that’s as close to AFL intensity that you’ll get.

“There are a lot of guys who are putting their hands up and having a new coach doesn’t hurt that.”

A number of those hands belong to players Drummond will continue to mould day-in, day-out in the SUNS defensive set-up.

“There are players like Joel Jeffrey… he’s signed a four-year deal so the club has a lot of trust and faith in what he can be. He’s learning and understanding just how good he can be,” Drummond added.

“Guys like Lloyd Johnston, Jy Farrar and Sandy Brock… there’s a real big crew of younger guys coming through.

“If we had to pick a team in Opening Round, everyone’s putting up their hands.”