The Gold Coast Suns suffered an off-season of upheaval, however recently retired Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy says the Suns can belie the odds and play finals football in 2018.
Former coach Rodney Eade failed to last until the end of 2017, and was subsequently replaced by Stuart Dew, while former captain Gary Ablett headed back to Geelong after two years of speculation about whether he would stay, or leave the club.
Murphy likened the Suns predicament to when Brendan McCartney as Bulldogs coach at the end of 2014, while captain Ryan Griffen walked out on the club to join Greater Western Sydney.
Under new coach Luke Beveridge, the Dogs made the finals in 2015, before winning their first premiership in 62 years, 12 months later.
“My big call for 2018, I’m tipping the Gold Coast Suns to make the eight,” Murphy said on SEN Mornings.
“There’s just something about the Gold Coast Suns that reminds me of the Dogs of 2015.”
“That group has been together now for a while, they’re still quite young, but they’ve played quite a bit of footy together.”
While admitting it’s a big call to say the Suns can play finals football, he feels their key position stocks, led by the likes of co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May can head the charge, while he expects Jarrod Witts to develop into one of the game’s best ruckmen.
“I love their spine - Steven May (down back). I love that Sam Day’s back in the mix – he played on the weekend, he was quiet, but he had some moments, and that he got through the whole game,” Murphy said.
“He did a couple of things late in the game, that I thought, he’s going to be around for them this year.
“I think Jarrod Witts might be the second best ruckman in the league by the end of the year. I think Max Gawn is clearly the best.”
After two JLT Community Series victories, the Suns begin their campaign on Saturday week against North Melbourne in Cairns.