What I Love About My Club In 2024 – Gold Coast


We love it here at The Mongrel, and it is always best expressed by our writers for their chosen teams.

This year, as we head toward Round One, I hand them the ball and ask – what do you love about your team in 2024?

Let’s see what they come up with. Brett Hodgson cover his beloved Suns. – HB



Mark my words…

2024, the narrative ends – we will be playing in the finals!

Here is what I love about my team going into the 2024 campaign


1) Defensive Structure

In Charlie Ballard and Mac(guyver) Andrew, Gold Coast possess potentially two of the best young defensive tall prospects in the competition. While Ballard has grown leaps and bounds as, statistically, one of the best big interceptors in the game, Andrew is on the cusp of stardom as well in his role as a third tall defender.

Combining with reliable stalwart Sam Collins, there is definitely massive potential in the aerial defence the Suns currently possess. I’ll hold my hand up and admit I was not sold on Andrew in defence, and early on he was more unaware than a deaf bloke at a rave, however, he showed some great signs as the season wore on that the move could pay dividends.

A healthy Wil Powell transforms this unit from “good” to “great” as the West Australian ranks amongst the most underrated players in the game, and him being on the park will also aid the transition of excitement machine, Joel Jeffrey to half-back to pair with fellow indigenous speedster Jy Farrar.

The move of club leading goal kicker Alex Sexton to defence is a bit of a head scratcher, but who am I to question the thought process of the next subject?

Don’t be surprised to see Will Graham or Bodhi Uweland slot in to the defensive rotation by midseason…


2) Dimma and Bully Ball

The arrival of triple premiership coach Damien Hardwick has inherently instilled a “finals or bust” aura around Carrara, and rightly so. The game plan will shift to a highly-contested style that focuses on HEAVY body contact, manic pressure and direct ball use.

Armed with a squad that can thrive in the contest will bode well, as the Suns will look to wear down and physically break their opposition. Too often, Stuart Dew was reactive in changing things up. Exploiting weaknesses and capitalising on flaws – even the short tenure of Steven King-  showed a marked improvement in certain aspects of the way Gold Coast attacked. Hardwick also knows how to formulate a game plan to get the ball into the hands of his prime movers at critical times.

The Suns need quality minutes from their second ruck, as the toll showed when captain Jarrod Witts was not in the ruck. I also believe the Suns need a more athletic option as backup, as we really struggled to curtail the more mobile rucks in the game. Rumour has it that academy prospect Ethan Reid will be developed as an athletic wing/utility early, as opposed to being crafted to ruck (especially this early in his career)


3) Natural Progression

Matt Rowell might have the biggest heart in the AFL. If not him, then it’s Touk Miller.

Basically, the midfield unit are really about to take the AFL world by the nuts.

For WAY TOO LONG, Gold Coast mids suffered from playing heavy minutes in the early part of the campaign. Later in the season, the hierarchy decided to give minutes to Sam Flanders and Bailey Humphrey… and boy, they looked good.

Humphrey in particular has shown an X-Factor up forward, with extremely clean hands and an appetite for the contest. There is a bit of a resemblance to when Dustin Martin first hit the scene in the #36 guernsey for Richmond over a decade ago.

Then there’s Noah Anderson, who was arguably the biggest surprise in the Brownlow Medal count, while also claiming his maiden Suns Best and Fairest by averaging almost 27 disposals and six clearances per game. With a rapidly improved tank and much improved kicking, Anderson stamped himself as a bona fide A-Grade midfielder, especially with Touk Miller missing time through key stretches of the season.


4) The Human Missiles

I’ll go on record here, Nick Holman is one of my favourite players to watch, purely from the “never say die” way he goes about the game. If you cut his head off, he will still keep coming after you, and it’s that relentless competitiveness that really draws me in. The type of guy that you would feel closing in, even if he was on the other side of the field.

It’s this same trait that really stands out with teenage behemoth Jed Walter, and for those that have yet to watch the tape of the hulking youngster, please do, and I guarantee you will be hooked harder than when Game Of Thrones came to our screens. Defenders will have to be on their guard with these guys in the vicinity, however, their efforts MUST be mirrored from the rest of the forward line. These two will bring the heat right from the first contest.

While he is more of a “blunt force” object compared to a missile, the aforementioned Rowell sets the tone at the coalface. Hopefully, he can get on the offensive more with much heavier rotations combined with higher quality clearances. The heavy minutes led to Rowell wearing down, but he just kept on keeping on, even without the nibble of turf


5) The King And His Knight

Jack Lukosius finally showed a sustained output in terms of what he can bring to the table in attack for the Suns, hitting the scoreboard while also using his devastating foot skills to maximum effect. Now, it’s all about consistency.

Ben King’s contract will be the biggest story of the 2024 season, despite constant communication indicating he wants to extend with the Suns (two-year extension rumoured). King fought his own inconsistencies, with perhaps a niggling injury and poor delivery causing a lack of opportunity at times. Later in the season, though, he looked to be emotionally struggling at times, with few lacklustre outings. Despite this, he still manged 40 goals in 20 games. Now is the time he must silence the doubters, both internally and externally.