Gold Coast SUNS Chief Executive Mark Evans said the club is committed to growing the game of AFL in North Queensland.

“As a club we have established significant support in North Queensland and enjoy playing our role in developing Australian Football throughout the region, which is also a key recruitment catchment for the Gold Coast SUNS Talent Academy,” Evans said.

“Over the past twelve months we have significantly increased our commitment to the region, appointing our first full-time staff member based in North Queensland, increasing our spend on the male and female Talent Academies in the region and will host an AFLW match in Mackay for the next three seasons.

“We have also amplified our support of local football which has seen junior players presented with Memberships greater involvement in supporting Auskick, local footy finals but also more player visits and the implementation of a local coaches development program.

“In 2020 the club will once again return in the pre-season for community camps in across North Queensland and will continue to play a key role in the development of football in the region.  While we have the capacity and are keen to play an AFL match in the region, unfortunately we haven’t been able to secure the commercial deal required to bring a game to North Queensland.

“We remain open to finding a way to bring AFL content back to the region and are hopeful we can find a partner to do that in the future.”

The Gold Coast SUNS have played nine home and away matches in North Queensland since entering the AFL competition in 2011. From 2011 through until 2017 the Gold Coast SUNS were scheduled as the away team to Richmond and Western Bulldogs who partnered with Tourism & Events Queensland to sell one of their home games. While in 2018 & 2019 the Gold Coast SUNS played a home game each season in a deal struck to assist the club to deal with the impacts of the Commonwealth Games at Metricon Stadium.

The establishment of the Gold Coast SUNS has helped deliver impressive growth in participation throughout Queensland and particularly in the club zones across the Gold Coast, Northern Rivers and North Queensland where participation has doubled in each region.