SUNS GM – Football Operations Jon Haines believes the club is in a strong position to finish the season positively after an uncharacteristic performance against Carlton last week.
Gold Coast was bested by the Blues by a margin of 33 points on Friday night in Darwin after failing to compete hard enough in the contest.
But Haines believes the match wasn’t a true representation of the team Gold Coast has developed into this season and stressed the importance of finishing the year on a winning note.
“The last block of games are really important for us, there’s no doubt about that,” Haines said.
“If we look back across the course of the season, the Port Adelaide game, the Giants and last week were the three games where we felt it wasn’t reflective of the progress we’ve made.
“But the longer break this week has certainly been beneficial and the players have come in with really good energy and they’re ready to get into it.
“It’s an important game for the club (this weekend against North Melbourne), there’s no doubt.”
A win against the Kangaroos would brighten up what has been a challenging week for the club and some staff.
On Monday the SUNS announced five coaches and a number of other football staff would not continue with the club in 2021.
Haines said the tough decisions were a result of the changing COVID landscape and the significant reduction in the football soft cap from 9.7 million to 6.2 million from 2021.
“We’ve had 14 staff from our football program that we’ve had to advise they won’t have an opportunity next year and each individual conversation has been really difficult and really personalised because they’ve all made a significant contribution to the club,” he said.
“The whole process has been difficult and I think the important thing for everyone to recognise is like all clubs they’re going through this particular phase at the moment.
“We acknowledge that and we want to make sure that we support them on the way out and support them on what they want to do next as well.
“Every area of the footy club in terms of the football program has been affected and we want to make sure we acknowledge all those people.”
Haines also clarified incorrect reports in the media which claimed there would be big financial implications to the club.
“The disappointing part from our point of view has been some of the commentary around the numbers has been way off the mark,” Haines said.
“They’ve been ill-informed and that’s put the people involved in very difficult personal situations as well.
“We certainly wish that didn’t occur, but it has, we’ll work through each person’s individual situation in accordance with their contract.”
Haines believes the industry-wide cutbacks, while devastating to those affected, will ultimately help the competition become more equitable.
“Every club’s dealing with the same set of scenarios and from a competition equity point of view it’s a really level playing field now,” he said.
“The smaller soft cap will actually support clubs who make really good decisions and are really clear with their strategy and implement it really well.
“We’re really confident that we have a really good strategy, it’s got really strong alignment, and we’re tracking in the right direction.
“We’re really confident with the people that we’ve got and the program that we’ll put in place that we’ll give our players the absolute best opportunity.”