SUNS expansion signing Jamie Stanton said the opportunity to return home to Queensland was too good to pass up as she weighed up her AFLW playing future.
Stanton became the first player to sign for the SUNS in the AFLW Sign & Trade Period, coming across from North Melbourne.
She is also the first player to have been on three AFLW lists after leaving Brisbane in 2018 to join North.
The 23-year-old said it was difficult to leave the Kangaroos after just one year.
“Obviously I left Queensland to improve my footy but in the long term it ended up just being a really simple decision and I wanted to come home and be with my family,” Stanton told the media on Monday.
“I’m going home to my home state, my home city, where my family is to start something new.
“I wanted to go home to be a Gold Coaster playing for Gold Coast.”
In just 12 months Stanton’s football has improved dramatically.
She averaged 17 disposals per game in 2019 and increased her marks per game from 2.6 to 5 in the last year while also adding an extra tackle per game.
“It was a really good learning experience to come down to Melbourne,” Stanton said on her development.
“I’m super thankful for North to be able to give me that experience to play with some of the players like Kearney and Bruton and develop my midfield game that way.
“So now hopefully I’m able to bring those learnings back home to Gold Coast.”
Stanton spoke to SUNS Media shortly after signing the paperwork which would bring her home, and said she was looking forward to playing in front of her support base.
“I’m super excited to see my nieces and nephews in little SUNS guernseys, that will probably be the cutest thing,” Stanton said.
“It’s really nice to be able to go home and have all friends and family be able to watch me for every game.”
In her two seasons at the Brisbane Lions, Stanton worked extensively with SUNS AFLW Senior Coach David Lake.
She has a strong relationship with her new coach already and will be hoping to deliver results under Lake.
“He has a really unique ability to be able to challenge a player without handing them the answer and he makes you actually really think and strive yourself,” Stanton said.
“He’s just a bit like a father figure to me.
“He’s been a mentor for a couple of years now and I’m so excited to be back with him.”
With three seasons of AFLW now on her CV, Stanton will be looking to be an impact player who can share her experience with younger teammates at the SUNS.
“I’ve played a couple of years now so hopefully I can help the young girls who make their debut hopefully for the SUNS,” Stanton said.
“Then obviously I’m an inside and outside midfielder so I’m hoping to make a bit of a mark in the midfield and hopefully carry the team to a few victories.”
Stanton joins Tori Groves-Little as the club’s two expansion signings so far, with Charlotte Hammans, Kitara Whap-Farrar and Ellie Hampson already locked away as inaugural signings.