The Gold Coast SUNS take on the Brisbane Lions for the final QW Winter Series match on Saturday in what will be the first official women’s match at the Gabba.
Saturday looms as the final opportunity for the SUNS to take on the Lions before the two teams merge to form an Emerging Talent squad to take on Western Australia in Perth next week.
AFLW Senior Coach David Lake said the match was another extremely important fixture as the club looks to finalise its list ahead of the 2020 AFLW season.
“Each game we’ve played has been a great opportunity for me to sort through what I’ve got,” Lake said.
“The opportunity to play against good quality opposition has been really important so the more the Lions can throw at us, the better off we’re going to be because we learn about our players in a real situation.
“Once this game is over and the emerging talent game in Perth next week, that’s the real last opportunity to play at the level which is a difficult thing because then you’ve got to make your decisions based on what you’ve seen.”
Despite going down in the opening two matches at Metricon Stadium and Great Barrier Reef Arena, Lake said the SUNS were more focussed on the development on the field than the final result.
“As a coach it’s really hard not to focus on score,” Lake said.
“Score is the most irrelevant thing for me but sorting talent is everything.
“This weekend for us is really important in terms of getting another look.”
SUNS AFLW midfielder Jamie Stanton said it was exciting to play another QW Winter Series match at an AFL venue.
“It has taken a long time to potentially play a game at the Gabba,” she said.
“We’ve obviously played a couple of games at Metricon in the past so it’s nice to finally be able to give the Lions home fans a taste of what it’s like to have a women’s game.”
Stanton played her first two AFLW seasons with the Lions before relocating to Victoria to play for North Melbourne this year.
She was lured home by the SUNS and says the squad has developed out of sight in the two months they’ve been training during the QW Winter Series.
“At the start it was really an unknown prospect and now we’ve just had huge development,” Stanton said.
“We’re a whole new club trying to set up everything from the staff to the players.
“We’ve just improved out of sight I think from Game 1 to Game 2 and hopefully that happens again from Game 2 to Game 3.”
The match kicks off at 2pm this Saturday at the Gabba.
For match day information, including how to secure free tickets to access the match, click here.