The Gold Coast SUNS believe the 2021 AFL fixture creates a significant opportunity to build on the rapidly growing interest in the club and AFL in Queensland.
SUNS CEO Mark Evans welcomed the SUNS hosting three exciting Metricon Stadium home games in the opening six rounds - including an AFL/AFLW double-header against North Melbourne in Round 2 and the Round 4 blockbuster against Carlton – plus the first QClash of the year in Round 9.
“Our loyal members and fans will enjoy these big home-games and it’s also a chance for the team to play on prime-time and show footy fans what the SUNS young, exciting list has to offer,” he said.
“The AFL is backing us with some great spots in the fixture and we can’t wait to play to big TV and live audiences – it’s a serious show of support towards what we are building at the SUNS.
“The best way to see our home games at Metricon Stadium is by being a SUNS member and we can’t wait to play in front of our loyal supporters and partners.”
The Carlton clash will be held during school holidays so, all things being equal, thousands of Blues and footy fans are expected to travel for the game which is good for Gold Coast tourism
Evans said Queensland was the home of footy in 2020 and the interest that created - and the hard work by the SUNS to build a fan base over the past 10-years - is paying off with record participation, awareness and membership.
“Our Round 9 QClash with the Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium will be another highlight and is a chance to celebrate footy in Queensland after this State helped save the AFL season,” he said.
“Queensland and NSW are the growth areas for AFL and our exciting, young SUNS team will play a big role in driving that in 2021 after showing considerable improvement. People are excited by our emerging younger players and our style of play – the 2021 fixture gives us every opportunity to build on that.
“We want to be even more competitive next season and see young players including Izak Rankine, Ben King, Jack Lukosius, Matt Rowell, Connor Budarick, Charlie Ballard, Wil Powell, Sam Flanders and Noah Anderson take the next step.”
The SUNS first home game at Metricon Stadium is Round 2 against North Melbourne and will be an exciting double-header with the earlier AFLW SUNS v North Melbourne clash.
The SUNS play Victorian powerhouse clubs Carlton (Rd 4), Richmond (Rd 16) and Essendon (Rd 22) at Metricon Stadium in 2021 and will also host St Kilda (Rd 8), Western Bulldogs (Rd 18) and Melbourne (Rd 19). On average, a large interstate travelling contingent of around 5,000 fans travel to Gold Coast to watch the bigger Victorian teams.
For the second year in a row, the SUNS will play in Darwin for Sir Doug Nicholls Round (Rd 11 v Hawthorn) as part of the club’s NT partnership
“We now have five Territorians on our AFL and AFLW lists – including Malcolm Rosas Jnr and Joel Jeffrey - and are building a very strong and genuine partnership with the NT,” Mr Evans said.
“We loved playing in Darwin for Sir Doug Nicholls Round and look forward to getting up there again for this special round next season. Playing this game in Darwin is becoming a proud tradition for us and for the Territory – it just works well and is a great way to recognise the contribution of indigenous players. ”