Excitement is at fever pitch as the GC SUNS prepare to kick start its VFL premiership defence this Saturday afternoon at People First Stadium.

The SUNS begin the 2024 campaign on home turf against Richmond at 11.05am on Saturday morning, with gates open to the public for free from 11am.

After returning to the role in 2024, SUNS VFL Head Coach Tate Kaesler says his side are simply looking forward to getting back to work on Saturday.

“There’s a bit of excitement going around. Obviously, most of the boys have been around for the last two weeks while the AFL boys have gone about their business, so we’ve got a lot of guys ready to get started this weekend,” Kaesler said.

The SUNS begin the campaign in uncharted territory as the ‘hunted’ following last year’s inaugural VFL premiership success.

With a host of new faces set to line up on-field, as well as in the coaches box on Saturday, Kaesler says Round 1 provides a chance for more up-and-coming talents to put their talents on display.

“It’s on exciting opportunity for me,” Kaesler said.

“The opportunity now to work with a whole new bunch of guys… from our premiership team last year I think we’ve got nine or ten changes so it’s great for our club to have the opportunity to bring some exciting, youthful players through and push themselves for AFL selection.”

“When you win a premiership, everyone is after you the next season and that brings excitement.

“It’s something that our guys probably haven’t experienced a lot of, but we feel that a really good VFL program is important for a successful AFL program. That’s what our job is and what we’re focusing on as a VFL group this year.”

“We were able to bring some high draft picks in but also some mature-age players that we’re really excited about. These guys are really starting to show what they’re about. It’s exciting as a footy club and as a coach to be able to work with this youth.”

The early signs of the new gameplay implemented by Senior Coach Damien Hardwick have been on display throughout the opening two games of the AFL campaign, and Kaesler says there’s a focus on ensuring those standards are filtered right through in the club’s VFL program.

“That’s something we have to implement at VFL level as well. The main thing is making sure our VFL players are playing at an AFL standard and executing the system that Dimma is after,” Kaesler said.

“That’s our role as development staff and coaches, to ensure these boys are playing their roles and pushing themselves forward for AFL selection.”

The SUNS and Tigers have met just once previously at VFL level with Gold Coast winning that encounter by 73 points in 2023.

Entry for Saturday’s VFL match is FREE with Gate 3 open from 11am. Parking is available in the Red Car Park at People First Stadium.

SUNS VFL upcoming matches

Round 1 v Richmond
People First Stadium
Saturday, March 23 11.05am

Round 3 v Box Hill
People First Stadium
Saturday, April 13 2.30pm

Round 4 v Sydney Swans
Sunday, April 21 9.05am

Round 5 v Port Melbourne
ETU Stadium
Saturday, April 27 11.05am