Fearless 2018: Round 23- The Gold Coast riddle- all that glitters is not necessarily gold but it ain’t that bad either

Hiya all, as we bunker down for the pre-finals bye, we realise that the Gold Coast has sacked Michael Barlow, seasoned veteran of football clubs Australia wide. Why? A ball magnet that is 30. Surely, having dispensed with the idea of recruiting Andrew Swallow to help his brother David, a future Suns captain, a player of the poise and ball winning capability of Barlow would be exactly what is required to assist the development of the young Suns.


Gold Coast have moved on from Tom Lynch, who incidentally did give 8 years of good service. They would also like an answer from Steven May that indicates a future on the Gold Coast that is longer than 2019. How many players have to leave?


Where are the Suns at? The area is widely touted as the 6th largest metropolitan area in Australia is also the Bermuda Triangle for professional sporting teams. Basketball, Soccer all gone by the wayside. Rugby League team the Titans are still there but not massively successful compared to say Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters and Cronulla Sharks of late. Maybe survival is just the trick. Not winning premierships.


Gold Coast Suns had been given assistance  from their inception. A starting playing list of 55 players was afforded them, slowly to be whittled away. Some 10 years down the track, they still require assistance. They soldiered on this year, despite not having a home ground for the first 10 games of season 2018. Is it just a question of recruiting? Jarrad Harbrow and Lachie Weller seem to have willingly gone there, same also with Cairns boy Jack Bowes and ex-Collingwood big man Jarrad Witts, who just may win the Suns B&F. Barlow may yet be picked up by another AFL club…30 isn’t as old as it seems, even in a competition that turns up its nose at age and experience.


The rest of the list have to want to be there. AFL contracts don’t fall out of trees, so why wouldn’t you live your dream if the opportunity permits. Stuart Dew appears to be in for the long haul and so the question every coach must ask himself at the end of each season is “Who Wants To Be There?”. It’s a given at the start of the preseason that Dew will want players who want to be there. Dedication is the requisite of the AFL pre-season, especially in the warmer climates and through the long program.


We watch with interest what happens up there as there are plenty of critics. Understandably too, as the Suns are viewed as a drain on the AFL purse. I hope they can succeed but I’m also wary of the continued cost to prop them up. The time is right for the Suns to prosper, but only time will tell if they can get to a point where they can stand on their own two feet.


Personally a willing list of players of a mix of experience and youth and a willingness to take the Suns brand to spread the gospel around Queensland will help the AFL in what is still ostensibly rugby territory. 11000 at the recent Suns Lions clash, not a bad crowd but also definitely not a sellout. A truly national competition will require a strong presence and identity in Queensland, the country’s 3rd most populous state.


 Round 23:


In typical Adelaide fashion, Frampton comes alive! 40 years after Peter, came Billy playing for Port. The first AFL player with the plastic vocal tube to show everyone the way! And then there was the game. Essendon v Port in a game between two teams who recruited heavily to finish outside the 8. Bombers finished on a high, a solid 22pt win.


The Cats toyed with their opponents for the second week in succession. Back to back 100+pt wins…you can only do what the fixture tells you to do. Danger hit top gear 34 stats and 4.3 ably supported by anyone not wearing a red and gold jumper. For Stuart Dew, the year endeth. The axe sharpens and the list improves in 2019. Or does it?


Did the Tigers take their foot off the pedal? Or did the Doggies just fall short? A Brad Lynch kick for goal might’ve changed the course of history had it not hit the post. On display at the G on Saturday was a minor premier trying to avoid collision injuries and a Dogs side in form, great finish. Tigers home just by 3pts. Jack R Coleman Medal 5.


Flow chart at Optus Stadium indicated many lead changes between Freo and Collingwood on Saturday. Coach Ross Lyon would’ve been happy with a better effort and intensity from Dockers and vindication for renewing Ballantyne’s contract with 4 goals. Pies September bound, even if that is back in WA. Michael Johnson’s last game.


Adelaide came to Etihad to play Carlton, with the preseason camp still in the news. Not that it mattered too much as the 8 goal lead at the half indicated a gulf between the two teams that wouldn’t be bridged in the 2ndhalf, barring divine intervention. With Jenkins 7 and youngster Gallucci 4, the Crows weren’t short of goals on the way to a 104pt win.


Meanwhile most AFL eyes were on the SCG where Sydney played Hawthorn for a double chance. Losing Buddy and Parker before the game didn’t help Sydney, not that it impeded its start. However after the half, the Hawks hit their straps, trailing only by a goal at the last and powering home to a 9pt win. Poppy 3…Hawks are back in town.


Arguably a danger game, the Eagles flew the length and breadth of the continent to take on the Lions at the Gabbatoir. The Eagles had been battling to prove top two credentials. Brisbane flatlined in the 2ndqtr, allowing the Eagles to take a stronghold, a 35pt lead at the half. Despite outscoring the Eagles in the 2ndhalf, the Lions still fell short by 26pts.


Melbourne got another chance to prove finals worth against the GWS on Sunday at the G. The Giants got another chance on the big stage, pre-finals. Wearing the rather snazzy 160 jumper…160 years since they were founded, Melbourne handed the big G Gatorade jumper for GWS a 45pt lesson, led by big Max Brownlow Gawn. Petrucca, TMc  3.


Playing for pride took on a whole new meaning at Etihad as the Roos and Saints squared off. No Coleman Medal unless Ben Brown can kick 7. In Jarrad Waite’s last game, the veteran took a final bow with 3, along with Brown and Ziebell. The Saints got good service out of Austin, Marshall and Pierce and reinforced the task ahead. Roos by 23pts.


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