When Jon Haines saw his first Burleigh barrel, he fell in love and didn’t want to leave.  

SUNS football operations general manager Jon, his wife Janelle and kids Charlie and Alby lived in Scarborough, West Australia for many years and didn’t think they would fall in love with another coastline.

They packed up their lives and moved to the Gold Coast in 2017 when Haines joined the SUNS after a stint with the West Australian Football Commission and North Melbourne.

Haines said after surfing, fishing and eating fish and chips on Burleigh Hill – the family was hooked.

“We have been around the coast and the beach our whole lives but Burleigh is something else,” he said.

“We live there now and feel so lucky. The kids are at Burleigh Surf Club, mad surfers, love fishing and the coastal lifestyle.”

When asked to describe his best day on the Gold Coast, he mused “we would probably be at Tallebudgera Creek with our little boat to do a bit of fishing and crabbing. We would then head to Burleigh Beach in the afternoon for a surf and a bite to eat”.

Haines said there was a diverse range of activities to do, within a 40 kilometre radius, on the Gold Coast.

“We love Coolangatta, Snapper Rocks and Kirra; however, the microbreweries and restaurants are something to check out in the Hinterland. We also enjoy the Currumbin Rock Pools.”

Haines said 70 out of the 153 home and away games in Queensland and the historic Grand Final at the Gabba was a fantastic opportunity for the code and the state.

“It’s a fantastic tourism opportunity and there’s no downside to it,” he said.

“It’s also been a great advertisement for the SUNS. It has been appealing for clubs to be here from an environment and training point-of-view, but they have also been able to see how good the facilities are.

In a major coup for Queensland, the Gabba will host this year’s 2020 AFL Grand Final, with the match locked in for October 24 at 7pm.  

SUNS Chairman (and Chairman of Queensland’s Grand Final bid), Tony Cochrane, said it was a fantastic result both for the growth of the game and for Queensland tourism – headed by the ‘Good To Go’ campaign -  to see the state on the big stage.

“We want to see tourism in Queensland back booming too and this huge AFL event will show all Australians – including locals – what a great place the Gold Coast, Cairns, Mackay and our entire State is for a holiday,” he said.