This is the next of our submitted Club Dream Team Previews. Thanks to Adrian Johnson for sending this one in! You will receive a stubby holder (to hold his can of coke) and if your article is one of the two that gets the most Facebook “Likes’ (just above this blurb), you’ll get yourself an AFL Prospectus! Read on!
Gold Coast, the AFL’s brand new marvel team, is housed in the outback of the Carrara Stadium. Currently, the likes of Gary Ablett and Jared Brennan have spent the off-season sweating it out in a gym in a tin shed, however, their promised ‘home ground foundations’ will be granted in three to four years by the AFL.
Since the VFL expanded, five new teams have entered the competition and each time they have exceeded the expectations: In 1987, West Coast finished 8th of 14 in year one and in 1991 Adelaide finished 9th of 15 in their first year. Gold Coast will desperately try and finish around the top 10 mark in a 17-team competition.
Gold Coast will have a lot more youth than any other team and have had longer to prepare, with so many of the team spending the 2010 season in the VFL competition. They have an unimaginable 27 players under the age of 20 and another 12 between 20-24. Of the six teams to enter the AFL since 1987 they are easily the youngest list, with an average age of 21 years 80 days, Gold Coast is the youngest list compared to Adelaide’s age average of 24 years 336 days in their 1991 side.
Gold Coast’s byes fall in rounds 1 and 9, this does pose a rather large dilemma when locking in our initial Dream Teams. Firstly, us coaches won’t be certain on Gold Coast’s best 22 before the first lockout and also the cash cows that Gold Coast possess will take longer to fluctuate to their fullest potential.
Gold Coast picked up Draft picks 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 13 which included the likes of Tom Lynch, Harley Bennell and Andrew Swallow.
Nathan Bock: He became the first AFL listed player to sign with the Gold Coast Suns on August 17th last year. He was All-Australian centre-half back in 2008, ranking #1 in the competition for effective kicks. Playing deeper in defence last season he conceded a merely 11 goals from 13 games. Nathan Bock is a high scoring defender who has shown he has the skill; his first season with Suns’ could be a risk however should see plenty of action.
Michael Coad: At 27 years of age, he is as close as it gets to a perfect ‘Cinderella story.’ Coad was a superstar in the SANFL, he finished 2nd in Sturt’s best and fairest in 2009. He averaged 19 disposals in the VFL last season, with a spectacular 36 disposals and 21 marks in Round 3 against Werribee. Michael Coad definitely showed a lot of positives last season and will be a starter from day one.
Harley Bennell: He is an exhilarating midfielder, averaging close to 20 disposals for Western Australia in the U/18 Championships last year; Bennell also averaged 21 disposals in his matches in the WAFL Colts in 2009. He has been likened to a former #2 pick, Daniel Wells, who was also recruited from Peel Thunder. Harley Bennell is an absolute gun and should reward coaches with high scores throughout the 2011 season.
David Swallow: He enters the competition as the #1 Draft pick, having played for Gold Coast in the VFL last season averaged a whopping 96 points per game. He played 15 games VFL in 2010, ranking equal first in scoring assists, third in clearances, inside 50’s, tackle and goals, 5th in disposals and handball receives. It’s either this guy or Harley Bennell, you’ll have to choose but David Swallow is definitely a jet, however, a lot of Dream Team coaches will have him… along with Daniel Harris!
Josh Fraser: Playing just 9 games last season, Fraser had the biggest drop in Champion Data ranking points than any other player at Collingwood. As a ruckmen, Fraser still showed some respectability, his hitout-to-advantage rate of 28% was the best of any ruckmen in the whole competition. Josh Fraser could be one of the biggest bargains in 2011.
Zac Smith: He is massive ruck prospect who was one of the first three players to sign with the Gold Coast franchise in 2008. Averaging 13 disposals and 21 hitouts per game, Smith was ranked #1 in the VFL for hitouts and recording a hitout-to-advantage rate of 26%. Zachary Smith has the potential to be the #1 ruckmen in the years to come; this season will be a telling one.
Thomas Lynch: He dominated for Vic Country at the 2010 NAB AFL U/18 Championships. A tall and mobile forward – obviously, as he stands at 199 centimetres and weighs a solid 91 kilos. He averaged 2 goals a game playing for Dandenong in the TAC Cup last year with an accuracy of 75%. Tom Lynch is a solid, hardworking forward and should push for a starting position in this new Gold Coast side.
Nathan Ablett: In his final season at Geelong in 2007, Ablett played 21 games and became a premiership player. This has all changed in the space of 4 years. After walking away from football prior to the 2008 AFL season, Ablett was lured back to VFL footy by the Gold Coast last season, playing 9 games, where he only averaged 9 disposals per game – sounds pretty sh*t to me. Nathan Ablett is very similar to his brother in every way, except the fact that his brother can actually play footy.
Some players to stay away from:
Nathan Ablett, because the fact that he only averaged the “spud like” 9 disposals per match in the VFL last season, poses a huge risk.
Campbell Brown was given a ‘9th life’ by the Gold Coast Suns, however, the fact he only averaged 13 disposals per game last year, is worrying. Was on his way out of the Hawks, will get a new life at GCS but not enough for the fantasy coaches.
Karmichael Hunt has changed from NRL to AFL, he has trained hard during the off season resulting in a loss of over 5 kilos, however, that still doesn’t mean we should have this fat, ex-rugby star in our Dream Teams this season. Pass.
Gold Coast are 21 to 1 odds to win the flag, however, they have the players and the skill to do so. Dream Team wise, they possess quality players such as Harbrow, Ablett, Brennan, Swallow, Daniel Harris and the cool, calm and consistent Rischitelli – who all should average over 85. With talents like these, the Gold Coast squad brings a new aspect to Dream Team 2011, which has led to the inclusion of the round byes: this will take a considerable amount of time to create the perfect team.
Tip: As soon as Gold Coast finish their second bye in round 9, jump on Gary Ablett, who will be prime to be in your midfield as he will have 15 rounds straight of 100+ scores, plus the aspect of captaincy potential.
In 2011, the Gold Coast Suns will be beaming red, just like Nathan and Gazza Ablett’s head.