Top Gold Coast draftee Ethan Read has done his Opening Round hopes no harm over the pre-season, with his athletic abilities wowing teammates.
Read was taken with Pick 9 in last year’s National Draft as a Suns Academy prospect, labelled a ‘unicorn’ for his rare talents before he’d even stepped in the door.
The 202cm, 92kg prospect might initially be stuck behind captain Jarrod Witts and it’s unclear whether new coach Damien Hardwick will opt for two ruckmen.
But Read’s running capacity has him right in the frame to play senior footy, with teammate and star midfielder Noah Anderson remarking how the duo run a similar two-kilometre time despite the difference in stature.
“He runs around a six-minute 2K (5:56 at the draft combine). He did some training with us through previous years and everyone was a bit taken aback by when he was in the conditioning drills that he’s already all the way up the top and doing it quite easy,” Anderson told SEN Breakfast.
“It was quite unique.”
Key forward Jack Lukosius added: “He’s very good.”
Read was one of four Academy picks the Suns were able to gain priority selection to in a bumper year for Queensland footy, with Jed Walter (Pick 3), Jake Rogers (Pick 14), Will Graham (Pick 26).
Of the quartet, Lukosius noted: “I reckon all four will play some games this year.”
Those four, the marquee signing of Hardwick and another year of development into the Suns’ developing list are all reasons Gold Coast is tipped to go closer than ever to breaking their finals drought in 2024.
This year is the Suns’ 14th in the competition and they have never finished higher than 12th on the ladder and while it’s not a new line, Lukosius says this is the season for his side.
“We’re not hiding away from that (it’s time),” he said.
“Our history performance-wise is quite disappointing and we haven’t lived up to the list we’ve had but we feel like with Dimma coming in we’ve got a list that’s really invested and we’re not making any excuses.
“We feel like we’re going to move forward and move forward pretty quickly.”
Gold Coast will feature in the inaugural Opening Round when Hardwick leads his Suns into battle against his former side in Richmond.
Prior to that, the Suns will face Brisbane and GWS in competitive pre-season hitouts.