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Evans confident in culture shift

Mark Evans on 3AW Gold Coast SUNS CEO Mark Evans spoke to the boys at 3AW's Jimmy Bartel, Daniel Harford and Mark Robinson after the SUNS Club Champion was revealed on Saturday night.

Gold Coast SUNS CEO Mark Evans believes the club is on the right path to overcome the issue of player retention after a busy season of securing talent.

In a sign of the club’s promising future, 14 players have extended their contracts this season, with many signing multi-year deals.

Included in those re-signings are the key commitments from co-captains David Swallow and Jarrod Witts, as well as vice-captain Touk Miller and leaderAlex Sexton.

Speaking on 3AW on Sunday, Evans said it was a testament to the club’s commitment to building a sustainable culture. 

“We’re trying to build this environment where we get unbelievable connection, particularly between players but also to their coach,” Evans said.

“I think the environment up here and the locality – all the players live within five kilometres of each other - there’s a chance for this to go so well.

“If we can give them the prospect of success then I think it will reverse the trend of the last four or five years.”

Evans was on radio following Gold Coast’s Club Champion awards dinner, where Witts claimed the top honour for the first time in his career.

In his third season with the SUNS, Evans said it was superb to see the ruckman getting the recognition he rightly warrants after a record-breaking season in the red and gold.

“It’s good to see him get the respect that he deserves because he’s one of those guys that completely commits himself to the club and to his teammates,” Evans said.

“A few people were surprised at the choice of him being captain along with Dave Swallow but we knew what we had and we knew what he’d bring to the group.”

As Evans and his staff switch the focus to the off-season, the club’s CEO said finding some off-field support for Senior Coach Stuart Dew would be one of the items on the agenda.

“We made a lot of changes last year including 16 new staff within our football (department),” Evans said.

“We added to our coaching ranks… we think we’ve got some very talented assistant coaches.

“Stuey is two years young into his senior coaching gig, he’s got an array of strengths that I think will serve him really well for a long time. 

“It’s about what’s the next level of development for him and how do we support that. 

“If we think we can bring someone else into the mix that can help with that we would do it. 

“If it’s a matter of continuing to shape him and put some courses or other things around him we would do that as well.”