Main content

Haines details retention essentials

Jon Haines on SEN 14/03/19 Gold Coast's GM - Football Operations Jon Haines spoke on SEN with Kevin Bartlett and Terry Wallace about player retention at the SUNS.

Player retention has long been regarded as one of the critical factors facing the Gold Coast Football Club.

In the time since senior coach Stuart Dew, GM – List & Strategy Craig Cameron and GM – Football Operations Jon Haines came to the club in late 2017, the list has seen rapid transformation. 

But speaking on SEN on Wednesday evening, Haines said he was confident the club has put the correct procedures in place to break the cycle and convince players to become long-term Gold Coast SUNS players.

“We had last year to have a really good look at all aspects of the football program and structure and environment most importantly,” Haines said.

“We feel strongly that we need to put most of our energy into creating a really great environment for our players to develop and prepare, but also to feel like they’re getting everything they need from an outside of football perspective as well.”

The football department saw a complete overhaul at the end of 2018 which saw the new Personal Excellence department formed.

Personal Excellence is a revamp of the previous player welfare department and has grown in resources from one staff member to seven which Haines says will be crucial to retention.

“We’ll invest more in that space than any other club in the competition so that’s a sign of how seriously we’re taking it,” Haines said.

“We think that’s fundamental to players having a strong sense of belonging and a really deep connection to the football club.

“The outcome from all of that is retention should be a function of that.

“If players are deeply connected, if they feel like they’re getting everything from a football perspective, they feel like they’ve got good off-field balance, then that’s a really large piece of the puzzle that we felt wasn’t in place previously.”

After bringing in three top-six draft picks in the off-season, the club will be hoping to see dividends early. 

One of those stars Haines will be eager to retain is no.3 draft pick Izak Rankine. 

Rankine has impressed in his short stay at the club so far, but will have to wait to make his AFL debut after succumbing to a hamstring injury in JLT2.

“His on-field stuff has been exciting but also the actual energy and charisma and passion that he’s brought inside the football club is really quite infectious as well,” Haines said of Rankine. 

“He’s a terrific young man and we’re sure he’s going to be a real favourite with the fans once he gets out there because he’s certainly proving to be a real favourite internally already which is a great sign as well.”