The Gold Coast SUNS have received support like no other year in 2021, setting a new all-time club membership record of 19,460.

It marks the second straight year the SUNS have set a new membership record, with this year’s figure being a 20% increase on the 2020 total of 16,236.

Highlighting the generational impact the club is having on the community, the biggest growth area is in junior memberships, up 49% from last year.

Gold Coast SUNS Chief Executive Mark Evans said to break the club’s membership record again in 2021 was incredible, especially given the uncertainty around the country during these times.

“The Gold Coast is a wonderful community to be a part of and we are extremely grateful for the support given to the club, and for signing up as members in record numbers this year,” Evans said.

“We have also received tremendous support from our interstate members across the country - particularly the loud and growing army in Victoria and those in North Queensland and the Northern Territory.

“To smash our membership record, particularly as the country navigates a global pandemic, is something of which we should all be extremely proud.

“We look forward to eclipsing the 20,000 barrier next season.”

GC SUNS captain Jarrod Witts said the players had felt the love from the members in 2021.

“We know it’s been another challenging year for everyone but we’re so grateful to our members for their support,” Witts said.

“To break the record again this year is an amazing achievement.

“The players have been absolutely blown away by the support this year, both at Metricon Stadium and interstate.

“Although we haven’t been able to be out and about in the community as much as we would have liked this year, we know that you’ve all had our backs and we really appreciate it.”

The final membership numbers for all 18 clubs have been released by the AFL on Thursday morning, with a new industry record of 1,113,441 members reached.

“The connection that footy supporters have with their clubs is unmatched in world sport,” AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said.

“The COVID pandemic has meant we have had another challenging season - border closures, crowd caps, no crowds, week by week fixtures, moving matches and even home games in different states – but the one constant has been the loyalty and unwavering support of members.

“On behalf of the AFL, I want to say thank you to every single person who has signed up this year.”