- Aug 17, 2009
- AFL Club
- Other Teams
- Southampton F.C., eAFL SUNS
As the Tiges return to their Gold Coast hub to prepare to travel to Brisbane to take on out-of-towners, the Gold Coast SUNS, I thought it would be a good time for me to share with you all that I know about our opponents.
As unsurprisingly few of you will know, I took on the role of coach for the SUNS in a fantasy sim-based football competition played earlier in the season on the BigFooty main board. Of course, NaturalDisaster and Sterge were coaching the Tiges at various points, so that didn’t end so well.
From my time interacting with the SUNS board and coaching this young bunch of stallions, I learnt a thing or two that might be useful in our oppo analysis…
- The technically correct way of referring to our opponents in writing is ‘SUNS’ rather than Suns, sUNs, snus, sunS, SuNs, sUnS or any other combination of these
- Touk Miller has a funny name but he likes to tackle
- Jarrod Witts (Cockney slang I use for when things are giving me the shits) is a very solid ruckman
- Ben King likes to kick lots of goals
- Playing Izak Rankine out of the back pocket may not have seemed like such a good idea at the time, but in hindsight it was sheer coaching brilliance from me
Since returning from the COVID break, the SUNS have managed to defeat the Eagles, Crows, Swans and Dockers. In addition, they have lost by under a goal to the Dogs and a red-hot Saints outfit.
Yes, they currently sit in 11th spot, and the teams they've beaten are no world-beaters themselves (save for the Eagles) but their percentage is in the positive (101%) and they are an exciting team to watch. It was a genuine shame to see Rowell go down so early in the season, as he was putting together some sort of debut season.
Hugh Greenwood is leading the competition in average tackles, while my boy Touk is also in the top 20. Greenwood is also in third spot overall for stoppage clearances, proving how important his big body has been for the SUNS. In defence, Sam Collins leads the league in average intercepts per game, which suggests that the ‘bombing it in long’ strategy we sometimes employ may need to avoid him.
As a team, they sit in 5th spot overall for average tackles (vs. 15th for Richmond).
In context of the players we’ve been missing (we know who they are), the Tigers have been acquitting themselves very nicely. While we all hoped for better on Saturday night, I don't think many would have been truly disappointed with our efforts against a rampaging Power at AO.
Coming off a short break and choosing to rest our Captain (along with our other outs), I thought our intensity was very good. For me, it highlights our strong team culture and togetherness which, fondling aside, has become much stronger since we hubbed up. Prior to the Power loss, we of course despatched the Dogs and the Bears with our trademark ruthlessness.
Shai Bolton and Dusty are second and third for average inside 50’s per game; Jayden Short leads all comers for metres gained.
Strangely enough, Richmond’s disposal efficiency is currently league-leading (averaging 73%). Also, bizarrely, we are last in the league for tackles inside 50, which is something we built our game around just 2-3 seasons ago (for those playing at home, the Saints now lead this stat). It's like this is 'opposites season' or something, although pleasingly we still suck at clearance stats, so that's a comfort.
We know that stats don’t really matter for our club though, but I just thought ‘huh, I wonder if anyone else would find this interesting’. *narrator: they didn’t*
I’ve faxed my SUNS coaching notes to Dimma and the boys (including big red underlines on the part where I tell him to write SUNS in all caps), so I reckon they’ve got what they need to scheme our way to victory.
Make no mistake – this isn’t the same SUNS team we have belted in the past few seasons – they’re playing a much freer brand of footy. However, they will be playing off a 4-day break, while we’ll have had 8 days to recover.
We’d be expecting to see a post-quarantine Bach return (Egg is the obvious one to make way), while we would also expect to regain the services of Cotch (perhaps for Ross). I’m not sure if the Nank will be ready, but it’d probably be Soldo to make way if he does return. Astbury may also be ready to return, although it seems unlikely.
My tip? The Tiges to salute by 4 goals.
Although the SUNS are… Dew… to beat us at some point.