He wanted nothing more than to see the SUNS fall one short in the VFL Grand Final just six months ago, but new recruit Sam Clohesy is now looking to take his new side back to the competition’s summit.

The 21-year-old was selected with the SUNS’ first pick in the 2023 Rookie Draft, joining from Werribee where he lined up against his new teammates in last year’s VFL decider.

Working towards back-to-back VFL flags and pushing for an AFL debut at the SUNS are his two main priorities in 2024.

“I’ve got the opportunity with a different team now and I all I want to do is win a premiership with the SUNS now… that’s the goal,” Clohesy said.

“I’ve loved the pre-season, but I’m ready for games now that’s for sure.

“It (an AFL program) is a big step up but it’s what you work towards. It’s been my dream since I was a kid so I’m absolutely loving it.”

Clohesy arrives back on the Gold Coast having spent time in Queensland and in the club’s Academy before relocating to Melbourne as a teenager.

The dashing back flanker burst onto the scene with a superb VFL campaign for Werribee in 2023 during which we won the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal as the competition’s most promising young talent.

The former teacher aide and current Griffith University student, where he’s studying to become a teacher, says a taste of AFL action during pre-season is only driving him further to live out his childhood dream.

“(At Werribee) you’re not in a full-time system, you’re not getting paid full-time, so you have to manage a job, you need to be able to study and drive for a different career,” Clohesy added.

“I never really lost track of that full-time AFL dream and that kept me ticking over. At Werribee I just wanted to play my role and do the best I could.

“As the year went on, I got some confidence and started playing some really good football. That’s what led me here - nailing the little things.

“Hopefully I get my opportunity (at AFL level) throughout the year, but if not, I’ll keep driving in the VFL and hopefully win there.”

Clohesy says SUNS fans can expect to see him rebounding off half-black as well as shifting further up the ground on to a wing in Saturday’s VFL season opener against Richmond.

Entry for Saturday’s VFL match is FREE with Gate 3 open from 11am ahead of an 11:05am first bounce. Parking is available in the Red Car Park at People First Stadium.