Ladder Position: 17th
Any other team, such a record would have been called a disaster. But for Gold Coast, season 2011 was a massive success. After early beltings, that dramatic 4th quarter against Port Adelaide, followed by victory in the inaugural Q Clash as well as a windy win over the Tigers showed their ability, as well as strong late-season showings against St Kilda, and Hawthorn.
Thus 2012 will be a season of onwards and upwards for the Gold Coast. They will continue to sort their juniors into those who will make it and those who won’t, and continue to add wins and games into young bodies. They won’t be setting the world on fire yet, but they will start to show further dominance and will certainly start to win a few more games and be competitive in even more. We’ll get to see a little more out of those kids that haven’t got a chance so far, even more out of those who’ve performed and more of Gary Ablett’s genius as he continues to show us why he’s one of the best footballers around.
Their draw has the potential for them to grab wins too. Their double opponents are the other new boys in GWS, their Q-Clash opposition in Brisbane, as well as North Melbourne, Adelaide and St Kilda. Furthermore, they have ten games at Metricon Stadium, including home draws against GWS and Port Adelaide, for their chance to get their first home win on the board.
Gary Ablett – He nearly deserved a Brownlow just for the effort. Without a pre-season, in a new side, without the support around him at Geelong to put together such a marvellous season was nothing short of incredible. And with a pre-season and support, well, who knows for 2012?
Michael Rischitelli – Rischitelli, too, had a good 2011 despite a tough season in a new side. He will continue to be expected to push the club onwards
Zac Smith – While he can arguably be included in the next section as well, Smith’s stellar 2011 simply showed what should be a great career ahead. The young ruckman will be expected to continue his fine work, and many will be looking for his endurance to be better so that he can run out games and the season.
David Swallow – Swallow was probably the most targeted first-year player of 2011, and will continue to be, but his talents should continue to shine.
Brandon Matera – Matera tore Port Adelaide apart during the Gold Coast victory with four goals, winning the Rising Star nomination for that round. Producing further goalscoring performances will be key to him pushing on in 2012.
Josh Caddy – Much was made over the off-season of Essendon’s late swoop for Caddy. After only managing two games in 2011 due to injury, this year is Caddy’s chance to show why Essendon were so interested.
The Suns will look to push on with a strong 2012. While in the zone capable of achieving the priority pick, the huge number of young players they have already (as well as Jaeger O’Meara to come) means that they should aim to win rather than aim for another top draft pick. I’d suggest six wins as a minimum target, including the two games against GWS.