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Young SUNS paying dividends

RD16: Dew post-match Watch Gold Coast's press conference after round 16's match against North Melbourne

Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew has praised the impact of the club’s youngest players who have stepped up when required throughout the year.

The SUNS have had five debutants in 2018, the equal-third highest of any club in the AFL.

“We’re really proud of our young players,” Dew said after the Round 16 match against North Melbourne.

(Charlie) Ballard, Wil Powell and even Lachie Weller, I know he’s come from another club but he’s still only young and I thought his last couple of games have been really important for us.

“His run and carry and his metres gained gives us good bounce off half-back and we know we can throw him in the midfield as well.”

Gold Coast’s newest debutant Wil Powell, who was taken at pick 19 in last year’s draft, is the latest success story to come out of the club.

Powell has played two games since being drafted from a non-traditional football pathway, having spent his junior career with Scarborough in WA’s local football competition before playing at Colts level with Claremont in his draft year.

“At the start of the year we knew we had a footballer so it was just getting him up to speed with everything else and I think he’s showed why we’ve picked him over the last couple of weeks,” Dew said.

“He’s got to make improvements around other things to do with being an AFL footballer, and that’s just getting into routine. 

“But I think what we can see today is a good decision maker, he uses the ball well and it won’t be long before he really hits the scoreboard as well.”

Another pair of fledgling SUNS who have been able to impact since coming back into the side are Peter Wright and Brayden Crossley.

“Peter Wright is still young as well,” Dew said.

“We asked him to obviously bring it to ground, don’t get out-marked and he delivered on that.

“We’d love him to hit the scoreboard as well but he’s still growing, the big fellas take a little bit of time.

“Obviously we want to fast-track (them) as much as possible so that’s where we’re putting in plenty of time.”