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Gold Coast granted full AFLW license

SUNS TV: McLarty talks AFLW license SUNS' Head of Women's Football Fiona McLarty spoke to SUNS TV about Gold Coast's AFLW license being upgraded.

The Gold Coast SUNS’ provisional AFLW license has today been officially upgraded to full license status by the AFL.

The upgrade means the SUNS have completed all necessary pre-requisites to field an AFLW side and are guaranteed a team in the 2020 competition.

Gold Coast’s Head of Women’s Football Fiona McLarty said the upgrade was a testament to the body of work which has gone in behind the scenes on the Gold Coast.

“It’s not just the Gold Coast SUNS, obviously we’ve done a massive amount of work around it, but also to the Gold Coast community and AFL Queensland on the Gold Coast,” McLarty said.

“All the work that they’ve done in participation programs, working with facilities and generating the interest around women’s football have all helped us get to where we are today.”

Today’s announcement brings the arrival of AFLW to the Gold Coast one step closer, but McLarty says there is still plenty of work to be done.

“The next steps really are (appointing a) head coach,” McLarty said.

“We’re actually going through a bit of a process at the moment for head coach and in the new year we’ll hopefully have some exciting news around that.

“Then also based off the back of the AFL’s announcement today, we’ll also be able to sign some players early in the new year.

“We’ll actually be able to say who our first players playing in 2020 are going to be which is really exciting.”

The AFL has advised that from mid-January, the club will be able to pre-sign three 17-year-old players from the SUNS’ Talent Academy program.

Many of those potential players are already hard at work, with a women’s Summer Academy being launched at the Austworld Center to give the prospective AFLW players a pre-season training program.

“The girls have been amazing the way they’ve been going around the work (and) the intensity that they’ve showed,” McLarty said.

“We’ve also been able to build our relationships with two of our local Gold Coast clubs that play in the QAFLW, so both Coolangatta and Bond have coaches that are supporting us with that program.

“It’s a great opportunity for the girls, but also for the coaches to be involved as well.”

Gold Coast will once again play in a Women’s Winter Series in 2019 before building the list for the 2020 AFLW season.