The Gold Coast Suns, on paper, have a best 22 that are leading some to debate whether this could be a winless team in 2019.
Champion Data recently revealed the Suns only have two players on their list that rank as ‘above average’ in Nick Holman and Lachie Weller.
Those rankings are harsh given Alex Sexton broke out as a very decent medium forward last year, Jarrod Witts won the ruck battle most weeks, Pearce Hanley was hampered by injury and the likes of Jack Martin, Will Brodie, Brayden Fiorini and Peter Wright all still have upside.
They’ve lost Tom Lynch, Steven May, Aaron Hall, Jack Scrimshaw, Gary Ablett, Adam Saad and Brandon Matera over the last two trade periods and added not much in return.
However, there is a silver lining as they take three top 10 picks into the 2018 National Draft, giving them some hope to hold onto.
Here’s what their best 22 looks like pre-draft:
FB: Pearce Hanley, Sam Collins, Jack Hombsch
HB: Jarrod Harbrow, Rory Thompson, Corey Ellis
C: Brayden Fiorini, Touk Miller, Lachie Weller
HF: Jack Martin, Sam Day, Nick Holman
FF: Alex Sexton, Peter Wright, Aaron Young
Fol: Jarrod Witts, Will Brodie, David Swallow
Int: Ben Ainsworth, Jordan Murdoch, Anthony Miles, George Horlin-Smith
Long term needs
This football club needs talent desperately.
The Suns have holes in all positions, but particularly through the midfield where they have next to no depth.
Above all that, they need players willing to stay at the club. They gave up pick two last year for Lachie Weller, mainly because he actually wanted to be there.
If the player they’re going to take with pick two leaves in three years, then this vicious cycle will only continue.
Short term needs
In a similar sense to the long term needs, Gold Coast need players who can have an impact immediately to give their fans some hope.
The Suns are in a situation where losing 20 games in 2019 would simply bury them further in the minds of those on the Gold Coast, but they also need to continue rebuilding for long term success.
It’s a paradoxical problem that coach Stuart Dew will have a hard time solving.
Draft picks: 2, 3, 6, 24, 29, 80
Who could they target?
Three picks in the top 10 and two in the second round gives Gold Coast the best draft hand of any team in the competition by far.
South Australian forward Jack Lukosius seems a likely pick up in the top three to replace Tom Lynch and will give Suns fans something to get excited about.
AFL.com.au draft guru Cal Twomey compared Lukosius to Hawthorn’s Jack Gunston while there are also comparisons to St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt. Anyone who can come in and kick 20 plus goals should be taken immediately by this team.
With pick three, they may consider someone like Bailey Smith who appears to be the ultimate professional already at 17 years old.
A player like that may be more likely to stay in Queensland than someone like South Australian Izak Rankine, even if they deem the latter the better player.
AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan believes Sandringham key forward Max King is someone who should be considered for the number one pick and could appeal to the Suns as well.
Someone like South Australian under-18 captain Luke Valente could be a target for them at 24.
Twomey believes he’s a reliable midfielder who’s hard working and can use the ball well. He clearly also has leadership qualities and could be a good addition as someone to help build this club up.