SUNS Media caught up with midfielder Hugh Greenwood to discuss his second season with the club.

SUNS Media: How have you found the pre-season?

Hugh Greenwood: Yeah it's been good. It's refreshing to come back in in the new year, which was a nice change. Obviously we trained pretty heavily in our off-season, probably the most work we've done in the off-season to prepare for our pre-season this year which was going to be a bit shorter. But thankfully we built that trust during the COVID shutdown last year, we were off on our own and the boys came back in really good nick.

So on the back of building that trust, we got to work away in the off-season and then come back and get basically stuck straight into it, which is nice. This is technically pre-season number five so I don't think talking to Harbs (Jarrod Harbrow) and Dave (Swallow), they don’t get any easier.

SM: Your first year at the SUNS probably wasn’t what you would have expected going into the year with all the COVID challenges. How did you find your first season with the club and did you set yourself any goals for this year?

HG: Yeah it was a difficult one. Any time you come into a new club and a new environment, you want to try and build that trust and earn the respect of your peers and the footy club. And I guess it was difficult, because we only played the one game, and it wasn't a very good game, so we had to sit with that for a while through the COVID shutdown. And obviously we weren’t traveling as well, I feel like when you travel, and you're around the boys 24/7 that's where you start to build those bonds and those relationships. We didn't do that as much so that was difficult as well.

But thankfully the footy club was awesome. The boys are also a younger profile, and fun to be around. But again, it was hard because my partner Kjiersten is from the United States so we have no family here and we had our firstborn. So that took up a lot of our time away from footy as well. So it was hard to get out and build those relationships knowing I had to come home and help out. But I'm really enjoying it. It's a really fun group. We saw glimpses  of our potential at stages last year, so when we're at our best, I think we compete with some of the best teams in the competition. We just struggled to do it over four quarters and I think as time goes on, we'll mature as a group and we'll continue to improve and we'll be right around the mark for sure.

SM: It was probably a career-best season for you last year as a full-time midfielder which is something you’ve always wanted to do. How did you rate your season compared to previous years?

HG: Yeah it’s just nice to have Stuey (Dew) and the footy club and the boys appreciate what I bring to the group and focus on my strengths and what I can do versus what I can't do. So, when you've got that belief behind you, it's natural that you gain that confidence. I feel like personally I'm only just getting started, I'm only in my fifth or sixth year in the system and I’ve only played less than 70 games so I still feel like my best is yet to come.  And thankfully, what I bring I feel benefits the group and I continue to complement guys around me like Rowelly (Matt Rowell) and Lachie (Weller) and Dave (Swallow) and Witta (Jarrod Witts) and Touk (Miller) and all those guys. I feel like we've got a really good group that brings a lot of different strengths and we all complement each other. So as long as I continue to get that belief and that backing, which I've got here at the SUNS, it's no coincidence that you start to play your best footy when you've got that following behind you.

SM: How do you see that midfield group you mentioned shaping up this year?

HG: Yeah, it's exciting. There's obviously a lot of competition for spots. Everyone’s flying at the moment. We've made huge jumps from where we were in 2019, to where we were in 2020. But we know we still want to improve on that. A number of guys have had really strong pre-seasons like Will Brodie and Noah Anderson. I think Will shaved almost 30 seconds off his PB in the 2km time trial this year and is as fit as he’s been in a long time so it should be a big year for him, and Noah has been really impressive through pre-season as well. Then you’ve got the guys I mentioned before who are really experienced so I think our midfield group is going to be able to compete really well this year and hopefully help us win more games.

SM: How have you and your partner Kjiersten adapted to living on the Gold Coast with your young son Titus?

HG: It's very, very easy. We knew the lifestyle was going to be what it was and that was a big selling point for us to raise a family up here and have stuff to do away from football. When we get time I try and surf on my off days. We’re usually at Tallebudgera Creek, at Currumbin Alley or at the beach. We’re only walking distance from Palm Beach so we’re lucky there and my grandma lives in Currumbin so it’s only a four-minute drive down the road to see her and the beaches and stuff like that. So there's plenty to do. When the kids get older it will be going to the theme parks more and more I'm sure. SeaWorld is the go-to at the moment, Titus loves staring at all the fish, he’s not quite big enough for the rides yet. The Wildlife Sanctuary is another big hit. We're finding more and more things to do. It’s good to get out and do some exploring.

SM: That’s great to hear, thanks for your time today Hugh

HG: No worries!