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Academy program paying dividends

Gold Coast’s NEAFL team has seen an upturn in form of late, and it’s the club’s Academy players who have been the foundation of the resurgence. 

One such player is Emmanuel Baru, who has kicked seven goals in two weeks, including the match-sealer against the Giants two weeks ago. 

The forward, along with a number of other Academy prospects, has trained with the senior team in recent weeks in a move that has begun to translate into on-field results for the SUNS.

“Our forward line…they’re all Academy players but give so much excitement and Emmanuel (Baru) is one of them that has put through seven goals in the last two weeks,” Development Coach Aaron Rogers told SUNS TV. 

“He’s thriving off the program that he’s been a part of where he’s been able to train with the AFL team the last couple of weeks and now I think we’re seeing the benefit of that on game day.

“He really feels a part of the team as do all of them because we know they’re a massive part of our team and hopefully that’s the recipe to some more wins as we go forward.”

Gold Coast’s coaching staff hope that as the Academy players become further integrated into the program, it will continue to pay dividends on match day. 

Coming up against Brisbane this weekend, the SUNS will be looking to the likes of Baru, Bailey Scott, Harry Simington and Connor Budarick to complement the senior players and make an impact.

“It’s obviously going to be a tough game against Brisbane, they’re the reigning premiers and had a good tough battle with GWS on the weekend which ended in a draw.

“They’ll roll out a lot of listed players but as we said before we’re hoping that our team brand that we’re playing with our mix of Academy and listed players is good enough to get the job done. 

“But it’ll certainly be another hard contest with some big threats that we’ve got to consider going into it.”