With just 25 wins in four and a half seasons and a membership tally of 13,507, the AFL’s introduced franchise, the Gold Coast Suns, has been a failure.
In 2007, the AFL made an offer to the North Melbourne Football Club of 100 million dollars to move to the “Sunshine State” and become the Gold Coast Kangaroos.
When North Melbourne knocked back the offer, this set the wheels in motion for the creation of the Gold Coast Suns.
And in my opinion, from the outset, the franchise has been a failure.
In 2011, a state that doesn’t really care about Australian rules football received a second team to add to the already declining Brisbane Lions.
In the previous season, Brisbane had the lowest membership numbers of any team in the competition with 26,799 members.
We are talking about a Brisbane Lions franchise that was created through a merger with popular Victorian club, Fitzroy.
We are talking about a Brisbane Lions franchise that won three straight premierships in the early 2000’s.
We are talking about a Brisbane Lions franchise that has hosted some of the greatest players to ever play the game in Michael Voss, Jonathan Brown, Jason Akermanis and Simon Black.
Yet this Brisbane Lions team had the lowest membership total in 2010 and despite this, the AFL thought introducing another team to the State of Queensland would prove a success if it was built on the right foundations.
Unfortunately for the AFL and Gold Coast, even those foundations have failed.
After appointing Guy McKenna as the inaugural coach in 2008, last year he was removed from his coaching role after just four years coaching at AFL level.
McKenna had Gold Coast placed in the top eight at Round 16 last season before star midfielder, Gary Ablett, injured his shoulder, which had them fall to 12th by season’s end and Mckenna was sacked.
Gary Ablett was perhaps the most significant piece that Gold Coast acquired in an attempt to build a successful and sustainable franchise.
He was given captaincy in his first season and arguably became the best player in the competition and pehaps, of all-time, during his first three years at the club.
His dominance included his second Brownlow Medal in 2013 and he was favourite for a third after leading his team to nine wins in 2014 before injuring his shoulder.
Despite the accolades and the individual dominance, during a time where a number of experts expected Gold Coast to be successful, Ablett has been left to nurse his shoulder and watch his team struggle.
The end of 2014 and the start of this season is the time where they have needed Ablett at his best, to help Gold Coast fulfill the outside expectations, however due to injury, this has also failed.
Karmichael Hunt was another AFL experiment that was expected to boost the popularity of the franchise.
Hunt was signed to a three-year ‘promotional contract’ that was reportedly worth over one million dollars a season.
Hunt would spend four years at the club before walking away from the sport at the end of 2014 to play rugby union.
In the end, all this experiment culminated to be, was a waste of money and one highlight of Hunt kicking a goal after the siren.
Add to all this, a host of top first round draft picks not delivering on expectations and the Gold Coast Suns are currently looking at a very gloomy future.
On a positive note, things can’t get much worse for the Gold Coast suns, who now led by Rodney Eade, are sitting 17th on the ladder with just one win from seven matches.
However, you only have to look as far as the Brisbane Lions to see that even if they do achieve success, for the franchise as a whole, things are probably not going to get any better.
Written by Todd Lewis @toddlewis23