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Former Sun reveals why “micro-managed” Gold Coast struggle


Former AFL player Jordan Murdoch has offered his insights into why the Gold Coast Suns have failed to make an impact in their time in the AFL.

The Suns joined the league in 2011 but are yet to compete in a finals series.

Meanwhile, Greater Western Sydney, who joined the competition the following year, has made the top eight in five of the previous six seasons.

Murdoch played over 100 games with Geelong before being delisted in 2018, but was picked up by Gold Coast and played 14 games in 2019.

Asked on SEN SA’s Kymbo and The Rooch if the club can turn it around, Murdoch pointed to an issue he believes has plagued the club throughout its existence.

“It’s an interesting question,” Murdoch said.

“The talent on that list is incredible, and the players themselves and their attitudes cannot be faulted.

“They’re almost trying too hard in my opinion, something I think the best clubs do, having talked to others at Richmond and other clubs, is they really time it well, and mental fatigue is put on a pedestal a lot higher than physical fitness.

“What I think they could be doing better is giving guys a bit more rest of switch off from the rigours of AFL footy, the programs and that sort of stuff and giving them a bit more ownership over their careers.

“It’s quite sort of micro-managed, and the boys sort of turn into robots a little bit.”

The Suns have often started their season brightly only to fade away as the year goes on.

They were in the top eight after round four in 2019, round seven in 2020 and were 10th on the ladder after seven rounds this year.

They finished in the bottom five on the ladder each year.

If the Suns are to get better, Murdoch believes it will come through off-field improvements to the footy program.

“For example … basically the guys are mentally exhausted by the time the middle of the year comes around, and you’ve got a stage where not long after the season is over you’ve got a fair majority of the list, because it’s so young, given off-season programs to the letter of the law, and they don’t get the break that you should get,” Murdoch continued.

“You don’t really get away from the footy program, the boys are supremely fit it’s nothing to do with fitness, and like I said their attitudes are exemplary, they’re doing everything that’s being asked of them, it’s just I think they’re doing too much at it means they start to peak by the time the pre-season games come around.

“You see some really good performances and everyone gets excited, even in the first couple of rounds you get really excited with Gold Coast’s form.

“But year after year after year, as long as I can remember, you hit sort of the mid-season mark and there’s a big drop off, you’re not even thinking finals with that sort of stuff.

“It’s a long-rounded answer but it’s my way of saying there has to be something changed around that overall mindset before you’re going to get a change in the club itself, in terms of winning performances.”

2022 shapes as one of the biggest in the club’s history, with coach Stuart Dew entering the final year of his contract and likely needing to contend for the top eight to keep his job.

Gold Coast

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