The state of the Giants and Suns

BIRDBRAIN

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The problem I have with these teams is that nobody cares about them. So it makes for 2 games each and every week where there is zero tension, no back and forth between supporters at work, no tribalism, no drama, nothing. They are outposts in rugby/soccer territory where literally nobody cares if they existed or not. There are no local boys playing for them, no home town heroes, their players are basically mercenaries who have been forced by the draft system to ply their trade in an inhospitable location against their will. I find it disgusting.

Suns and "The GWS" You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go!
 

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Collins-Langford-Ayres

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I have thought over the past few years that the Giants have a rather poor midfield. Sure they have the names, and on their day they look amazing, but too often their midfield completely falls flat and none of them stand up when the chips are down.
The problem is there is no continuity. Every year they lose another mid or utility to other clubs, see Devon Smith, Tom Scully, Dylan Shiel, Matthew Kennedy, Adam Treloar, Jack Steele, Will Hoskin-Elliott...
 

demondavey

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I assume the AFL has learnt some lessons from past relocation and expansion (specifically in the Northern states), and realise it requires and have budgeted for a 20-30 year investment of time and funds.

Why exactly does this upset some people so much?
It doesn’t upset me, I am merely making the comment that without on field progression and a turnaround in form at some point, the investment starts to become somewhat unfeasible if the on field matters don’t improve.
 

fpm84

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I feel GWS missed their best chance in 2016. Beating Sydney in the QF and earning a home prelim really should have been a ticket into the GF. Credit to the Dogs who outworked them on the day.

From that 2016 prelim side, the following players are at other clubs: Scully, Shiel, Wilson, Smith, Lobb. Plus retirements of Griffen, Patfull, Palmer (none have been a big loss).

That's an enormous amount of talent running around for other teams.

Still a good side who can beat anyone on their day but not consistent enough to win two away finals should they fail to finish top 2 as seems likely.
 

Johnny Bananas

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There are no local boys playing for them, no home town heroes,
Username checks out yet again. You do know these clubs have drafted players from their academies, right? In fact GWS have a kid in the draft this year who will be a top 5 pick and potential superstar. It was also true of Brisbane and Sydney for their first few years, do you want them to fold too? If not, why not?

their players are basically mercenaries who have been forced by the draft system to ply their trade in an inhospitable location against their will. I find it disgusting.
That's true of every club, silly. The draft system, especially before the academies were created, doesn't allow anyone to pick the club they want. There are plenty of kids drafted to clubs they had no love for before that. Do you really think Jarrod Brander had a childhood dream to move to Perth and play for the Eagles?
 

General Giant

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Because you buy an 11 game or 3 game membership doesn't mean you can get to every game. I'd think the proportion of non-attendees would be the same for every club.

If I have a 3 game membership, you can't count me as a non-attendee for the other 8 games.

I'm likely to miss one or two to illness, one or two to family events, one or two for work or something else. No club will be different on that.
Sorry mate wasn't meant as a shot, could say the same with any club
 

abcde12345

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The problem I have with these teams is that nobody cares about them. So it makes for 2 games each and every week where there is zero tension, no back and forth between supporters at work, no tribalism, no drama, nothing. They are outposts in rugby/soccer territory where literally nobody cares if they existed or not. There are no local boys playing for them, no home town heroes, their players are basically mercenaries who have been forced by the draft system to ply their trade in an inhospitable location against their will. I find it disgusting.

Suns and "The GWS" You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go!
If you don't like their games then don't watch them.

But there are a generation of kids right now that love the Suns. They don't yet care about all the stupid intricacies yet like the retention issues and the media narratives. They go to the games, have a kick on the grounds surrounding the stadium with their parents and have a good time.

To say the next generation doesn't deserve to have a football team to support, just because the current older generation who have only been surrounded by rugby their whole lives haven't immediately assimilated to AFL like some people seem to expect, is absolutely ludicrous. That's not to mention the quarter of their list that are recruited locally, despite the fact you don't care enough to realise this.

And to act like the realities of the draft make this particular club disgusting is very strange. Many clubs have experienced retention issues at time. Even the crows have experienced an exile of talent - should Adelaide be removed too? Fact of the matter is, in the current age of free agency, it is drastically harder to retain talent as a bottom team, especially one outside Melbourne, than it ever has been.

The Suns are getting kids involved and active right now up on the Gold Coast and in North Queensland. That is a great thing. They just need to work on getting their game sorted on the field, as well as letting some time pass for more of the current generation to grow up, and the whole off field situation will look a lot different.
 

demondavey

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Here's a fun fact: The Melbourne Football Club has received more than the average distribution amount to clubs every year except one since the Suns inception. The Suns have received less than the average distribution amount three times in that period. The Suns have also had less total distributions than the Saints over the period, and only just more than the Bulldogs. Gold Coast has also never had the biggest AFL distribution in a single year.

This is despite Melbourne being the original football club with 150 years to start "doing it themselves". This is also irrespective of the fact that Melbourne is in the second biggest corporate hub in Australia, while the economy of the Gold Coast is (obviously) drastically smaller. It also doesn't factor in the purpose of the expansion club, that is, to try and increase the market share of Australian Rules in the third biggest state in Australia - and in one of the biggest growth pockets in the country.

So how much can the AFL pump into Melbourne, Bulldogs, Saints etc before they start doing it themselves, as you put it?

You also earlier in the thread talk about how "pathetic" they are on the field, ignoring the fact that the Melbourne football club was just as poor in the early 2000s. You only have to look 6 years ago in 2013 to find a year where the Demons had a worse percentage than Gold Coast has ever had - this despite being in the year where GWS was literally just a percentage booster.

It takes time to build a supporter base in a foreign land. Hell, it wasn't too long ago that Port - in AR dominated Adelaide - were on death's door. These projects have been described as generational for a reason. If the clubs can average 20k after 30 years that will be a success.
Prior to 2007 Melbourne were a side that played finals regularly throughout the nineties and in the early part of the decade. Melbourne did themselves no favours by creating holes for themselves through tanking. That’s what put us back until Roos took over. Jim Stynes also led a pretty significant campaign to wipe out our debt.

Do you honestly think it’s the best use of AFL funds over a 30 year period? Particularly in a non football state?
 

abcde12345

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Prior to 2007 Melbourne were a side that played finals regularly throughout the nineties and in the early part of the decade. Melbourne did themselves no favours by creating holes for themselves through tanking. That’s what put us back until Roos took over. Jim Stynes also led a pretty significant campaign to wipe out our debt.

Do you honestly think it’s the best use of AFL funds over a 30 year period? Particularly in a non football state?
So if you ignore what has been the entire lifespan of the Gold Coast Suns and some, then we see a regular finals team. Why do Melbourne get this extra leniency? Especially when they are in an AFL state where it is easier to retain and attract talent.

Of course I think expanding the game is a sound strategy. I think propping up the expanding markets is also much more valuable to the league than supporting the unviable entities in mature markets - however, I also don't think it's fair that supporters of the smaller Victorian clubs lose their teams either. Ideally, we could create a strong VFL from existing Victorian teams and create new entities for Melbourne in the main league similar to the model that SA and WA had to take, however this takes a lot of passion out of the game and costs a lot in brand value. Therefore, I think it's healthy that the league props both the expansion and the mature teams up.

The most common argument I see against this is "but what about the grassroots". The AFL already spends comfortably more than the annual cost of GWS and GCS combined on grassroots, and after all AFL club distributions and expenses still runs a massive operating profit. Also do consider - the Suns and GWS combined only cost the AFL about $10-15m (on over $650m revenue) more than an "average" club would, and only a few million more each than the smaller Victorian clubs.

Expanding into non-saturated regions is the obvious way to go about it. That is how the game grows. It is also how the game will maintain the status quo over a longer term. Maybe most of the people arguing against the Suns and the Giants are older and this is therefore less relevant to them, but as someone who enjoys watching the game who is younger, I do not want to see future talent drain away because the code is too insular, won't expand and therefore won't be able to offer the financial incentives of competing codes.

But these things take time. The fact that some people expect these clubs to be instant success stories is just bizarre. Did you drop everything when the Storm rocked into town? Of course not. But over the longer term and after some on field success, the Storm now have comfortable attendance figures (4th highest in the NRL). A similar trend has occurred amongst the Lions, Swans and Dockers, who all started from a relatively small base, before consistently growing over their lives into what they are today.

The AFL sticking for the long haul in NSW and QLD is extremely good for the game, even for the Victorians that don't realise it yet. If the code continues to gain market share, it will have access to more money, and be able to attract more young talent in the Northern states (50% of Aus population), instead of the current situation where most talented athletes from up here pursue NRL instead (the NRL makes significantly less money, but there are half the players on a squad list, so player salaries are comparable). That point of inflection is where the upward spiral for Australian Rules in the expansion markets will exist.

So basically yes - I would rather the money go towards growing the game and therefore retaining talent than I would for it to go lining the executives pockets further. I also think that just throwing money at "grassroots" doesn't achieve anything, and the focus for grassroots should be moreso on implementation than just dropping more cash into it. And even if more money helps, the AFL runs roughly a $50 million surplus after all distributions and expenses (the amount GCS and GWS "cost" again), so the funds are available irrespective of the existence and financial requirements of the expansion clubs.
 

Happy Idiot

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Do you honestly think it’s the best use of AFL funds over a 30 year period? Particularly in a non football state?
Yes. Most astute businesses factor potential growth into their decision making. Weighed against Stkilda, Melbourne, Bullies, and the Kangaroos — investing into an area of the country in which AFL is growing, fairly rapidly, seems fine to me.
 

demondavey

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So if you ignore what has been the entire lifespan of the Gold Coast Suns and some, then we see a regular finals team. Why do Melbourne get this extra leniency? Especially when they are in an AFL state where it is easier to retain and attract talent.

Of course I think expanding the game is a sound strategy. I think propping up the expanding markets is also much more valuable to the league than supporting the unviable entities in mature markets - however, I also don't think it's fair that supporters of the smaller Victorian clubs lose their teams either. Ideally, we could create a strong VFL from existing Victorian teams and create new entities for Melbourne in the main league similar to the model that SA and WA had to take, however this takes a lot of passion out of the game and costs a lot in brand value. Therefore, I think it's healthy that the league props both the expansion and the mature teams up.

The most common argument I see against this is "but what about the grassroots". The AFL already spends comfortably more than the annual cost of GWS and GCS combined on grassroots, and after all AFL club distributions and expenses still runs a massive operating profit. Also do consider - the Suns and GWS combined only cost the AFL about $10-15m (on over $650m revenue) more than an "average" club would, and only a few million more each than the smaller Victorian clubs.

Expanding into non-saturated regions is the obvious way to go about it. That is how the game grows. It is also how the game will maintain the status quo over a longer term. Maybe most of the people arguing against the Suns and the Giants are older and this is therefore less relevant to them, but as someone who enjoys watching the game who is younger, I do not want to see future talent drain away because the code is too insular, won't expand and therefore won't be able to offer the financial incentives of competing codes.

But these things take time. The fact that some people expect these clubs to be instant success stories is just bizarre. Did you drop everything when the Storm rocked into town? Of course not. But over the longer term and after some on field success, the Storm now have comfortable attendance figures (4th highest in the NRL). A similar trend has occurred amongst the Lions, Swans and Dockers, who all started from a relatively small base, before consistently growing over their lives into what they are today.

The AFL sticking for the long haul in NSW and QLD is extremely good for the game, even for the Victorians that don't realise it yet. If the code continues to gain market share, it will have access to more money, and be able to attract more young talent in the Northern states (50% of Aus population), instead of the current situation where most talented athletes from up here pursue NRL instead (the NRL makes significantly less money, but there are half the players on a squad list, so player salaries are comparable). That point of inflection is where the upward spiral for Australian Rules in the expansion markets will exist.

So basically yes - I would rather the money go towards growing the game and therefore retaining talent than I would for it to go lining the executives pockets further. I also think that just throwing money at "grassroots" doesn't achieve anything, and the focus for grassroots should be moreso on implementation than just dropping more cash into it. And even if more money helps, the AFL runs roughly a $50 million surplus after all distributions and expenses (the amount GCS and GWS "cost" again), so the funds are available irrespective of the existence and financial requirements of the expansion clubs.
It’s a fair point you make. And perhaps I am underestimating the interest in Gold Coast and AFL in Queensland. I am certainly not suggesting they would be an instant success story, but we are talking 10 years in now, on to their third coach. Perhaps my view is simplistic, perhaps not. I would like to see successful non Victorian sides as I hate the Victorian focused media.

My main argument though re saturating a market is how can you achieve that when you’re in a traditional non football state and you’re genuinely struggling on field? I mean GC will have to start playing well sooner rather than later to her Queensland viewers interested in AFL.
 

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Professor Knowall

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GWS aren't no good, they're pretty good. But nobody barracks for that team, literally nobody ... The problem I have with these teams is that nobody cares about them. ... They are outposts in rugby/soccer territory where literally nobody cares if they existed or not. There are no local boys playing for them, no home town heroes, … Suns and "The GWS" You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go!
None of this is remotely true. The Suns, despite being hapless cellar dwellers and on an unseasonably wet day, attracted 16,103 to their home game while GWS got 12,268 v Brisbane - while just 10k turned up down the road at the same time to watch Cronulla play the Brisbane Broncos (and St George v Storm got a gathering of just 5k). The Suns have shown they'll attract good crowds, if only they can become competitive, while GWS crowds, likes its membership, is steadily growing.

As for not having local players, the Suns have 11 Queenslanders on their list (out of 41 Queenslanders on AFL team lists), while GWS have 14 from NSW on their list (out of 62 NSW players on AFL team lists). In contrast, after 20 years, the Melbourne Storm presently boast zero, nil, zilch Victorian raised players on their list.

With the number of NSW and Qld raised players on AFL lists now exceeding 100, the two new clubs are serving their purpose in growing our game in non-traditional areas.
 

demondavey

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Yes. Most astute businesses factor potential growth into their decision making. Weighed against Stkilda, Melbourne, Bullies, and the Kangaroos — investing into an area of the country in which AFL is growing, fairly rapidly, seems fine to me.
I am aware of how growth is factored in, just that will it be enough to sustain on their own?
 

abcde12345

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It’s a fair point you make. And perhaps I am underestimating the interest in Gold Coast and AFL in Queensland. I am certainly not suggesting they would be an instant success story, but we are talking 10 years in now, on to their third coach. Perhaps my view is simplistic, perhaps not. I would like to see successful non Victorian sides as I hate the Victorian focused media.

My main argument though re saturating a market is how can you achieve that when you’re in a traditional non football state and you’re genuinely struggling on field? I mean GC will have to start playing well sooner rather than later to her Queensland viewers interested in AFL.
That is 100% the biggest challenge. If the on-field issues can be sorted, the off-field issues will most likely resolve themselves.

I think the fact that the Lions have:
1. Sorted themselves on-field, and
2. Boast one of the best medical teams in the AFL
is actually a bigger deal than people realise. It's going to put AFL back on the radar in Queensland, and it's also going to make forging a career as an AFL player up here that much more "acceptable".

The Gold Coast Suns should look to take advantage of this. There is a long list of fringe players in the Lions line-up who aren't getting opportunities because the club doctors have done so well in keeping almost all of our best 22 on the park all year for the past few years. These are players that would likely be mutually beneficial if the Lions were to move on to the Suns, giving us more list space to develop more talented youth, and giving the suns more leadership to develop their youth.

The change needs to come culturally (and it seems like big positive moves have been made in this regard this season), as well as strategically. Brisbane got out of their rut through the removal of players contributing to the toxic culture (I believe a lot of this has occurred at the Suns with Lynch and May leaving), but also through AFL intervention into out football department and some very intelligent trading in of experience (particularly with Hodge to guide the younger players' development).

If Gold Coast can trade in some extremely smart leaders nearing the end of their career for cheap (maybe Roughead is an answer?), make sure Stewie Dew is surrounded by a competent team, and make sure the football department are up to the job, then they might be able to turn things around sooner than everyone expects (remember how unbelievably crap Brisbane was a couple of years ago?). They have some really talented young players that fall under the radar a bit due to the media focus on the southern states and particularly Melbourne (Powell, Bowes, Fiorini, Ainsworth are all young players that would fit well in any team list, aside from the obvious high profile ones), so really I think they just need some leadership and development to complement this.

Also doesn't help that the NEAFL standard is a joke and can't help development.

I really hope the Suns can learn from the struggles and now successes of the Lions. The Gold Coast should be a pretty attractive place for a young player to live. Don't have to deal with constant media harassment, good weather, surf etc. Football in Queensland will benefit massively if the Suns can develop into something on the field, and hopefully they can become competitive on the field while Brisbane is doing well, so a real rivalry might form between the clubs.

The best thing about all this is that there is a lot for the AFL to learn from for the future. These are the first teams the AFL has really brought out in this extremely professional environment, and now it's clear that just dropping a bunch of draft picks on a club isn't a recipe for on-field success. The inevitable Tasmanian bid will at least have the benefit of the learning experience from the Suns and GWS, and will hopefully resemble more the GWS strategy (more developed players and leaders at the club), than the GCS strategy (franchise player without leadership skills surrounded by youth and inexperience). It would be a shame for Tasmania to finally get a team only to struggle as much as the Suns have. Also hope they go for some better branding with the Tassie bid (Suns are only okay because the moniker Titans sucks just as much).
 

GUMBLETRON

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Martin#4

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Another promising career to be ruined.

And a handful of chip on the shoulder Suns supporters to whinge about players leaving because they want to make something of their careers.
 

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Shadow89

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I feel GWS missed their best chance in 2016. Beating Sydney in the QF and earning a home prelim really should have been a ticket into the GF. Credit to the Dogs who outworked them on the day.

From that 2016 prelim side, the following players are at other clubs: Scully, Shiel, Wilson, Smith, Lobb. Plus retirements of Griffen, Patfull, Palmer (none have been a big loss).

That's an enormous amount of talent running around for other teams.

Still a good side who can beat anyone on their day but not consistent enough to win two away finals should they fail to finish top 2 as seems likely.
You could argue though, that most of those players have been replaced by equal or even better talent through the draft. Taranto > Shiel, Himmelberg > Lobb, Hopper as good as Smith, Perryman close to Scully (post injury), S. Taylor close to Wilson (although different positions).

I think GWS have a much better culture and a much better following than the Suns. Their membership base grows each year, their academy products are solid and every time they lose talent, they get even more in.

Also, each time this happens, players become more entrenched within the culture. Tomlinson said he loves the club and will sign of for scraps. Hopper signed on straight away, for far less than he would get at other clubs. As did J Kelly, Himmelberg, Haynes etc. There will be a point where the straw breaks the camel's back, but as long as they only lose one of Whitfield, Cogs, J Kelly or Cameron, in the immediate sense, then they should be fine.

The same cannot be said for the Suns. Since their inception, they have never qualified for finals and they have never had a decent growth in membership numbers. Although GWS have had similar retention problems, the development of a lot of their youngsters has been far superior to that of the Suns.

To me, this is their final chance. They have a decent coach, a solid outlook, and a ridiculously decent core of elite players to build a side around - Lukosius, Rankine, B. King, Martin, Ainsworth, Sexton, Swallow, Miller, Bowes, Fiorini, Ballard, Weller, Ah Chee, Collins, 2MP, Witts, and a host of other B-C grade players. If they get a priority pick and land Anderson and Rowell, then they should be making finals in 2021.

If they lose any of the aforementioned before they make any progress, then that's lights out.

Given all of the above, I think GWS will make it, despite losing the players you quoted (and possibly others) given their strong culture. It remains to be seen whether the same will be able to be said about Gold Coast. I for one, have very strong doubts that they will.
 

HolyRioli

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I have no issue with GC asking for assistance, god knows they need it. But a talented 18 year old isn't the answer, and won't help them for several years. They can have pick 1 given to them post-season, but it has to be traded. If they still have it at the end of the trade period, they lose it.
 

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