SUNS GM – Football Operations Jon Haines says the club hasn’t made a decision yet on when to ask its players to return to the Gold Coast.

A handful of the club’s draftees and younger players have returned to their home states to be with family during the AFL shutdown period.

While there’s been no date locked in for the season to resume yet, Haines said it had been discussed what the best course of action would be with the interstate players.

“We’ve been discussing that pretty frequently this week,” he said.

“It is challenging with us having no end date at the moment and the level of uncertainty that creates. 

“We haven’t got a set date in mind when the players need to be back. 

“We’ve spoken to all of our interstate players this week along with their parents and managers just to get a handle on how they’re going.”

Haines said it was difficult for the club to enforce a return date, but instead insisted it was a decision the players had to make themselves.

“A large part of that is do they feel they’re ready,” he said.

“It’s not necessarily dictated by the club in this particular case because we don’t have an end date to work backwards from. 

“We’re encouraging the players to consider that it’s not a simple case of deciding that I want to go back to the Gold Coast tomorrow and get back into things, they’ve actually got to work their way through it. 

“The other part is do they feel they’re ready to come back and have they had enough time with their family.”

Haines said the club had actively encouraged players and staff to return home while the industry goes into hibernation. 

While the majority of the playing list remains on the Gold Coast, there are still players scattered across the country in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. 

“We’ve said to all our staff and players that they need to be where they feel most comfortable and for most of us that’s around your family,” Haines said. 

“We’ve encouraged our players to go back and be with their families in their home state if they think it’s appropriate.

“We’ve still got 41 players on the Gold Coast who decided to stay so the bulk of the group is here and doing what they need to do. 

“But there’s no doubt the guys in other states do miss that connection with the group as well as much as they’re enjoying being with their families. 

“It’s a good sign and to be honest if you wanted to be somewhere in a training environment, being on the Gold Coast at the moment is a pretty good place to be compared to being in Melbourne where its 12 or 13 degrees.”