SUNS Senior Coach Stuart Dew believes the Gold Coast community are the big winners from the AFL’s revised fixture release earlier this week.
With the South Australian and Western Australian clubs set to relocate to the Gold Coast, Dew said it was an outstanding result to see Metricon Stadium host seven games across the four weeks.
“Taking my coach hat off and just looking at it from a Gold Coast point-of-view it’s a fantastic result for the community,” he said.
“Any kind of tourism that comes here, I think it’s important to inject some funds into the area.
“We’re not biased – we have a great stadium here in Metricon Stadium so it’s a fantastic result for our stadium but also the Gold Coast region and we think it’s a real positive for football here.”
Players across the competition were given the all-clear to resume contact training on Monday ahead of Round 2 getting underway on June 11.
The SUNS will restart its campaign against West Coast on June 13, and Dew said the players were desperate to account for the Round 1 loss against Port Adelaide back in March.
“We’ve dealt with that, it was a long time ago but we didn’t want to just move on.
“Across that three-week period (including the Marsh Community Series), that was the real letdown obviously so that has been sitting in the guys’ stomach for a little while.
“They were disappointed with the result and want to make amends and get back into it and finally we get the opportunity in a couple of weeks.”
Dew surmised that the playing field had been levelled somewhat after the AFL shutdown period, with most clubs now boasting a healthy playing list to pick from.
But on top of that, a big bonus for the SUNS has been the opportunity to ease its first-year players into a professional footballing program.
“All clubs would be feeling the same – everyone is talking about how healthy their list is and how good it’s been for them,” Dew said.
“But for our younger players it’s probably given them a little bit more time to try to get used to the rigours of AFL football without the bash and crash.
“In a month’s time they’ll have four games under their belt and they’ll be feeling sore and we’ll just have to manage that.”