One of the most experienced players on the SUNS AFLW list and with a premiership already in the books, Tiarna Ernst isn’t ready to slow down any time soon.

After three seasons with the Western Bulldogs, Ernst has started fresh with the Gold Coast SUNS and is revelling in the opportunity to help shape the club after being named in the inaugural leadership group.

“It’s a new environment and new experiences,” Ernst told SUNS Media.

“It took a little while to adjust to the different staff and the different way that the club runs but I’ve really embraced the opportunity and have just completely bought in to the culture and everything that the Gold Coast SUNS are bringing.

“I’m just really excited to see what we can actually put out on the park there and hopefully make the Gold Coast community proud.”

Ernst is one of five in the leadership group for the 2020 season, alongside Jamie Stanton, Sally Riley and co-captains Leah Kaslar and Sam Virgo

All five bring different experiences and dynamics from being at four former clubs in total, but together they are using their knowledge to guide the inaugural SUNS list.

“We’ve all been able to provide a wealth of experience from our experiences at our respective past clubs,” Ernst said of the leadership group. 

“Hopefully we’ve been able to impart some knowledge and shape a culture and standard of training and expectations that means we will be successful this year.” 

The process to appoint the five-person leadership group was relatively simple, according to Ernst who says there were some natural standouts throughout pre-season.

“It wasn’t something that was forced upon anyone,” she said.

“I think the roles found the right people that were able to enhance the strengths of the group and really make sure that we work on those weaknesses or room for improvement within the group.

 “I know personally I didn’t do anything differently than what I did previously at the Western Bulldogs other than trying to be elite in my standards and behaviours and really trying to be a good role model for the younger girls as well.” 

While the 32-year-old is a self-confessed pre-season lover, Ernst is pleased that the team will soon be able to put the game plan to the test, starting in Round 1 against GWS this Saturday. 

“I actually do really love the conditioning and being able to push your body to the limits and seeing how you can transform your body physically,” Ernst said.

“But I’m really excited to get into the game and put everything that we’ve been practicing over the summer into actions and really hope that we can do the community proud.”