Gold Coast will look to homegrown talent as the SUNS look to bolster its list with some exciting Academy talent at the upcoming 2021 NAB AFLW Draft.
New SUNS AFLW Head Coach Cameron Joyce spoke to the Credit to the Girls podcast about selecting SUNS Academy products.
Talking further about the where the Suns stand in terms of drafting from the Queensland pool, Joyce went on to say, “there’s certainly the Gold Coast Academy piece for us that Sam Iles and Jason Torney in particular have done a fantastic job in developing players for the SUNS.”
“I think we’ve almost got 50% of our list as Gold Coast Academy players which is fantastic and our hope that we could add to that through the draft.”
SUNS Academy members make up 11 of the 26 currently listed AFLW players.
As part of the club’s partnership with Northern Territory football, Gold Coast will also have first access to the Territory talent it has helped nurture through its Academy.
“Also, we’ve got a really strong relationship with the Northern Territory, so we will certainly be looking at the best talent in the NT to try and add to our list as well,” Joyce said
“So, I think through those mechanisms that will be the bulk of our draft.”
Draft nominations closed at the end of last week, with the major story being top Victorian prospect Charlie Rowbottom’s decision to nominate for the Queensland draft pool.
Joyce said it was a fantastic opportunity for the SUNS to have access to Rowbottom at the draft and spoke on what her potential inclusion could mean for the club.
"The opportunity to chat with her about her football, and from my end, where I saw her potentially playing and how we thought we might be able to improve her game – and also too, the young and exciting group we've got up here – were things we spoke to her about in trying to get her to make the move to Queensland,” Joyce said.
"She's just an ultra-competitor, you can see that in the way she plays.
“She's played through the midfield and also up forward, taking numerous contested marks and scored heavily for the Oakleigh Chargers through their campaign in winning the NAB League premiership.
“She's also captain, so she has leadership qualities as well, so there's a few things that drew us to her."
In one of his first media appearances as coach, Joyce also discussed the SUNS’ other draft plans, where recruit Vivian Saad will play and his hopes for the side in his first season in charge.
“We were really keen to get a back-up ruck who could also play forward and back and when the opportunity arose to get Viv – there’s a fair bit of scope and development still with Viv.” Joyce said
“She played a fair bit of back for VFLW and we know she’s played forward and pinch hit in the ruck for the Kangaroos, so to be able to support Lauren Bella, that was a good structural move for us.
“Claudia Whifort from the Saints certainly adds a fair bit of speed and run for us throughout the midfield both inside and outside, so she’ll be able to add some depth to our midfield.”
As a new coach, Joyce hopes to bring a different game style and fresh outlook to this year’s SUNS team.
“I think there will be a slightly different flavour in terms of some tweaks about how we want to play,” Joyce said
“Maybe a few players in a few different spots potentially but also the big thing is about the general improvement, so the improvement of both the individuals but also us as a team, I think that is the focus.”