Gold Coast Suns
Full nameGCFC Limited, trading as Gold Coast Suns[1]
Nickname(s)Suns, Sunnies, Coasters
2023 season
Home-and-away seasonAFL: 15th
Leading goalkickerAFL: Ben King (40 goals)
Gold Coast Suns Club ChampionAFL: Noah Anderson
Club details
Founded2009; 15 years ago (2009)
Colours  Red
CompetitionAFL: Senior men
AFLW: Senior women
VFL: Reserves men
ChairmanBob East
CEOMark Evans
CoachAFL: Damien Hardwick
AFLW: Cameron Joyce
VFL: Josh Drummond
Captain(s)AFL: Touk Miller & Jarrod Witts
AFLW: Tara Bohanna
PremiershipsAFL (0)
AFLW (0)
VFL (1)
Ground(s)People First Stadium (capacity: 22,500)
Training ground(s)People First Stadium & Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre
Other information

The Gold Coast Suns, officially the Gold Coast Football Club, are a professional Australian rules football club that competes in the Australian Football League (AFL). The club is based on Queensland's Gold Coast in the suburb of Carrara.

The club has been playing in the AFL since the 2011 season. It plays home matches at Carrara Stadium (known for commercial purposes as People First Stadium) and has its training and administrative facilities located at the adjacent Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre. The club is one of two AFL clubs based in Queensland, the other being its main rival, the Brisbane Lions which it competes against in the QClash.

In addition to the men's team, the Suns field other teams including an AFL Women's side, a reserves side in the Victorian Football League, and a Gold Coast Suns Academy side consisting of the club's best junior development signings contests Division 2 of the men's and women's underage championships and the Talent League.


Main article: History of the Gold Coast Suns


The first application for a licence by a Gold Coast team to enter the AFL was made in 1996 by the wealthy and popular Gold Coast based Southport Sharks club (formed 1961), with an excess of 20,000 members, the on-field QAFL powerhouse made a formal bid to the AFL. However, the AFL declined the license in favour of admitting the Port Adelaide Football Club. There was strong opposition from the majority of the QAFL clubs and supporters, and the AFL felt that the popular Sharks brand, and its reliance on gaming and hospitality revenue, could divide rather than unite the Gold Coast community. In 2006, the AFL attempted to negotiate a merger between the Sharks and a Melbourne-based club. The AFL made the Gold Coast a primary target for a proposed relocation of the North Melbourne Football Club which had sold some of its home games there. The league pushed for a merger with the Sharks offering significant financial incentives, however North Melbourne blocked the move and the AFL decided that a new licence would be the best avenue for moving forward. On 24 December 2007, the AFL obtained Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) registration for the name "Gold Coast Football Club Ltd".[2][3] In March 2008 the AFL won the support of the league's 16 club presidents to establish sides on the Gold Coast and in Western Sydney.[4][5] Shortly thereafter the AFL invited the Sharks to become part of a consortium, and the club made a $150,000 donation and sought to meet the strict criteria set down for inclusion by the AFL.[6] As part of the winning bid, the Sharks contributed $10 million in corporate sponsorship. However the AFL officially ruled out use of the Sharks nickname (along with other nominations including the Dolphins and Pirates) for the new club, despite them being the highest polling choices of AFL supporters.[7] The club's identity was put to a public nomination and voting process with the Marlins and Stingrays being the most popular of the available options among community stakeholders. In response to the poll, however the AFL announced that it would not adopt any of the community suggested names and the team would initially remain unnamed and that the nickname would evolve. However it was later leaked that the AFL's marketing department had already chosen the Suns brand independent of the community consultation.[8]

The new club was formally granted the licence to compete in the AFL on 31 March 2009.[9]

AFL Hall of Fame legend Guy McKenna, inaugural coach

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou announced the club could debut in the Queensland State League in 2009 as it recruited players and prepared for its debut season in the AFL, which the league scheduled for 2011.[10] Marquee AFL players such as Nick Riewoldt,[11] Lance Franklin[12] and Kurt Tippett[13] were speculated as potential signings for Gold Coast, though all three men ended up re-signing with their existing clubs. In June 2008 it was announced that the new team would play in the TAC Cup in 2009 and the Victorian Football League in 2010 ahead of its entry into the AFL in 2011.[14] Later that year the board of business-people who had been appointed to set up the club, and were known as the GC17 bid, appointed WAFL coach and former West Coast player Guy McKenna as senior coach.[15] Essendon administrator Travis Auld was selected as head of the GC17 board, and would go on to lead the club in an off-field capacity for several years.[16][17]

The AFL were able to successfully negotiate with the Queensland Government to redevelop Carrara Stadium as the club's new home ground. The announcement of the redevelopment, of which a small portion was funded by the AFL, was made in May 2009.[18] On 22 July 2010 club administrators announced that the club would be known as the Gold Coast Suns, and adopt the colours red, gold and blue.[19]

2009: TAC Cup

Main article: 2009 Gold Coast Football Club season

The club's newly assembled junior squad competed in the 2009 TAC Cup under 18 competition and won most of their games, eventually finishing in 5th place. They defeated the Northern Knights in the elimination final but then lost their semi final to the Geelong Falcons.[20][21]

2010: VFL

Main article: 2010 VFL season

In November 2009 the team signed twelve 17-year-olds around the country to compete in the Victorian Football League (VFL) year through the under age access rules. These players included Luke Russell (Burnie), Maverick Weller (Burnie), Taylor Hine (Calder), Josh Toy (Calder), Matt Shaw (Dandenong), Piers Flanagan (Geelong), Hayden Jolly (Glenelg), Alex Keath (Murray), Jack Hutchins (Sandringham), Tom Nicholls (Sandringham), Brandon Matera (South Fremantle), Trent McKenzie (Western Jets).

The Gold Coast was also given permission (by the AFL) to play David Swallow in 2010, despite not being the correct age. The deal that was struck with the AFL stated that Swallow would still need to go through the 2010 AFL Draft to officially join the team, while the other under age recruits contracts would run through 2011.

These are the results and fixture for the 2010 season, in which the club competed in the Victorian Football League (VFL).[22]

Inaugural VFL team

Inaugural GCFC team (Round 1, 2010 season)
B: Matt Shaw Jack Hutchins Michael Gugliotta
HB: Taylor Hine Michael Coad Maverick Weller
C: Trent McKenzie Marc Lock (c) Luke Russell
HF: Alik Magin Charlie Dixon Brandon Matera
F: Liam Patrick Nathan Ablett Rex Liddy
Foll: Zac Smith Daniel Harris Sam Iles
Int: Danny Stanley Rory Thompson Hayden Jolly
David Swallow Luke Shreeve Joseph Daye
Coach: Guy McKenna

Source: 2010 VFL Season Results

2011: AFL debut

Concessions on entry into the AFL

Year Draft Picks Senior List Size Salary Cap Allowance Zone Access Notes
2009 - - - 20 QLD The club was granted access to twenty 17-year-old Queensland players who were eligible for the 2009 AFL Draft. The team competed in the under 18 TAC Cup competition in 2009.
2010 - - - 5 QLD
2 NT
The club was allowed to sign up to twelve 17-year-olds born between 1 January and 30 April 1992. The club also received the first 5 picks in the rookie draft. The team competed in the Victorian Football League competition in 2010.
2011 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 26, 43 48 $1,000,000 extra 5 QLD At the conclusion of the 2010 season the club was able to sign up to 16 current AFL players who were uncontracted for the 2011 season. The club was also allowed to sign up to 10 players who had previously elected for the national draft and weren't selected.
2012 AFL Standard 46 $800,000 extra 5 QLD -
2013 AFL Standard 42 $600,000 extra AFL Standard -
2014 AFL Standard 40 $400,000 extra AFL Standard -
2015 AFL Standard AFL Standard AFL Standard AFL Standard All concessions removed and the club operates like every other team in the AFL.

Players acquired through concessions

Concession Players acquired
QLD Zone Access Joseph Daye (2009), Charlie Dixon (2009), Jesse Haberfield (2009), Tom Hickey (2010),
Rex Liddy (2010), Marc Lock (2009), Lewis Moss (2010), Zac Smith (2009),
Jack Stanlake (2009), Jack Stanley (2009), Rory Thompson (2009), Joel Wilkinson (2010).
NT Zone Access Steven May (2010), Liam Patrick (2009).
2009 Rookie Selections Daniel Harris (1), Michael Coad (2), Sam Iles (3), Roland Ah Chee (4),
Danny Stanley (5).
2009 Underage Selections Piers Flanagan, Taylor Hine, Jack Hutchins, Hayden Jolly, Brandon Matera,
Trent McKenzie, Tom Nicholls, Luke Russell, Matt Shaw, Josh Toy,
Maverick Weller.
2010 Off Contract Signings Gary Ablett Jr, Nathan Bock, Jared Brennan, Campbell Brown, Josh Fraser,
Jarrod Harbrow, Nathan Krakouer, Michael Rischitelli.
2010 Draft Selections David Swallow (1), Harley Bennell (2), Sam Day (3), Josh Caddy (7), Dion Prestia (9),
Daniel Gorringe (10), Tom Lynch (11), Seb Tape (13).

Initial 2011 playing squad recruitment

Inaugural AFL team

Inaugural Gold Coast team (Round 2, 2011 season)
B: Seb Tape Nathan Bock Campbell Brown
HB: Jarrod Harbrow Karmichael Hunt Nathan Krakouer
C: Trent McKenzie Daniel Harris Michael Rischitelli
HF: Danny Stanley Charlie Dixon Alik Magin
F: Jared Brennan Zac Smith Brandon Matera
Foll: Josh Fraser David Swallow Gary Ablett (c)
Int: Marc Lock Harley Bennell Dion Prestia
Josh Toy
Coach: Guy McKenna[34]

2011–2014: McKenna era

Further information: 2011 Gold Coast Football Club season

Further information: 2012 Gold Coast Football Club season

Guy McKenna would continue to coach the team throughout the 2011 season and beyond, after successfully guiding the club through its journey in the TAC Cup and VFL in 2009 and 2010. The Suns would play their first four "home" games of the 2011 AFL season at the Gabba in Brisbane, while their home stadium (Metricon Stadium) underwent final redevelopment works.

Michael Rischitelli was instrumental in the club's first winning game with 31 disposals and 2 goals against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium in Round 5 of the 2011 season.

Gold Coast had a bye in Round 1, and played its first AFL game debuted in Round 2 on 2 April 2011 against Carlton at the Gabba in front of a crowd of 27,914. The first five goals were scored by Carlton, before Charlie Dixon scored the first-ever goal for the Gold Coast Suns. Carlton went on to win by 119 points. Gold Coast won its first game in Round 5 on 23 April 2011, defeating Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium. Gold Coast trailed by 40 points late in the third quarter, before coming back to win by three points, after Port Adelaide's Justin Westhoff missed a set shot after the siren.[35] Michael Rischitelli was the best on ground. Gold Coast won two more matches for the season, winning the inaugural QClash against Brisbane Lions in Round 7 by eight points (which became the most-watched AFL match on pay television ever),[36] and defeating Richmond by 15 points in Round 17 in the first AFL match ever played at Cazaly's Stadium in Cairns. However, the Suns also suffered several more very heavy defeats during the year, including a 139-point loss to Essendon in Round 6 – in which Essendon scored a record 15.4 (94) in the first quarter – and a 150-point loss against Geelong in Round 20. The Suns went on to win the wooden spoon.

Gold Coast endured a poor pre-season in 2012 which included a 13-point loss to fellow AFL newcomers Greater Western Sydney. Their solitary win in that time was a narrow win over Melbourne in the triangular round of the 2012 NAB Cup.

The home-and-away season did not begin well for the Suns either, losing their first fourteen matches in succession to be the only winless team after Round 15 of the 2012 AFL season. Among the losses included losses by more than ninety points to Collingwood and St Kilda (twice), seven-point losses to Fremantle and North Melbourne at home and a 27-point loss to the newest AFL franchise, Greater Western Sydney. Their fourteen losses to start the season was the worst by any team since Fremantle lost its first 17 matches of the 2001 season. Their horror start to the season ended in round 16 with a narrow 2-point win against Richmond. They had a lead of up to 36 points halfway through the second quarter, which then shrank to 24 points after 2 quick goals before half time from Richmond. Richmond then had a six to two goal quarter, snatching the lead back. The lead then went to 18 points Richmond's way before Gold Coast snatched it back to just 4. With 5 seconds left, a kick from the right forward pocket in Gold Coast's 50 was marked by Karmichael Hunt. After the siren sounded he kicked the goal to make Gold Coast 2-point winners.[37]

Gary Ablett Jr was Gold Coast's inaugural marquee player and captain

The Suns then won two more matches for the season, a 30-point win against Greater Western Sydney in Round 20 and a 12-point upset win over Carlton in Round 22, both at home. The team finished 17th at the end of the season, only above Greater Western Sydney on the AFL ladder. In November 2012 the club announced their "20-ONE-3" plan that targeted signing twenty thousand members and winning a premiership within three years - by the conclusion of the 2015 AFL season. The plan was criticised as being overly ambitious.[38] By the end of the 20-ONE-3 period, the Suns had a highest membership of 13,643 (achieved in 2015) and a highest ladder position of 12 (10 wins - achieved in 2014).

In the 2013 AFL season Gold Coast made a much improved effort, highlighted by victories over seasoned opponents in Collingwood, St Kilda, the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne. Their improvement on the past two seasons was so stark that they were considered possibilities of securing an unlikely finals berth up until the final round after Essendon lost all their premiership points.[39] The Suns finished with 8 wins for the season and ended the season placed 14th on the ladder. Captain Gary Ablett won his second Brownlow Medal, the first such medalist to win the award at the club.

Despite losing veterans Jared Brennan and Campbell Brown ahead of the 2014 season, some experts predicted Gold Coast to "give the top 8 (finals) a nudge",[40] though the general consensus was that the Suns would likely finish around 13th.[41] Though beginning the season promisingly and entering Round 11 with a 7–2 record following impressive wins on the road against Melbourne, North Melbourne (who had defeated minor premiers Sydney three weeks earlier), and St Kilda, the Suns would stumble severely through the second half of the season. After captain Gary Ablett was injured in a win over Collingwood in round 16, the club went on to lose the next two matches, including one in the QClash against Brisbane. In round 19, the club recorded its inaugural win without their captain, defeating St Kilda. The club went on to lose the remaining matches of the season, finishing in 12th. Inaugural coach Guy McKenna was sacked at season's end, leaving the club after 88 games in charge and winning just over 25% of them.[42]

2015–2017: Rodney Eade

Following McKenna's departure, the Suns announced Rodney Eade as their new coach. Eade had coached the Sydney Swans and Western Bulldogs to multiple finals series and was regarded by some pundits as a good choice to push the Suns into a maiden finals campaign.[43] In his first season, Eade made the decision to rush back Gary Ablett Jr into the side, which led to the on-field targeting of the star midfielder, while key position players Charlie Dixon and Harley Bennell were traded to other clubs as the Suns lost their opening four games and never recovered, finishing the 2015 season in 16th place with only four wins.[43] The club started the 2016 season with three consecutive wins and defeated minor premiers Fremantle, giving the impression it was on the verge of achieving sustained on-field success.[44] However it would only win a further three matches for the season and Ablett was again sidelined with a serious shoulder injury, while other players were lost to a combination of injury and suspension.[43] The Suns hit the mid-to-late stage of the following season in reasonable form with a 6–8 win–loss record, though disastrously lost their last eight matches and finished in 15th place.[45] Divisions between some of the players and Eade's cautious game-style emerged and by Round 19 club officials sacked Eade, citing a poor win–loss record.[46] Eade's departure was exacerbated at the end of the season by Ablett's request to be traded back to his original club Geelong, despite having another year to serve on his contract with the club.[47]

2018–2023: Stuart Dew

The club appointed Port Adelaide and Hawthorn premiership player Stuart Dew as coach ahead of the 2018 season. Under Dew, the Suns adopted a draft strategy of recruiting young players, which in part contributed to a second-last finish in 2018 and last place finish in 2019, the latter being the club's second wooden spoon. David Swallow was appointed captain in 2019 and emerging talent such as Izak Rankine and Matt Rowell showed signs of propelling the club to better results in the future, though Rankine left the club in 2022 to play with Adelaide. Following their best win-loss record in 2022 (10 wins for a 12th placed finish), the club stagnated on the field in 2023 and again failed to make finals. On 11 July 2023, Suns officials announced that Stuart Dew would no longer be the coach after two consecutive losses to Collingwood and Port Adelaide that eliminated them from finals contention.[48] Dew finished with 30.17% winning record over six seasons with the club.[49] Steven King was appointed interim coach for the remainder of the season.

2024 and beyond: Damien Hardwick

On 21 August 2023, the club announced that three-time Richmond premiership coach Damien Hardwick had signed on as coach of the senior team for six years.[50] In round 10 of the 2024 AFL season the Suns recorded their highest ever total to date, with 26 goals and 8 behinds, amassing a total score of 164 in a 64-point victory over Geelong.


Carrara Stadium
LocationNerang–Broadbeach Road,
Carrara, Queensland,
Australia, 4211
OwnerQueensland Government
OperatorStadiums Queensland
Capacity25,000 (23,500 seats)
Field size171 x 144 metres
ArchitectPopulous (2010)

Main article: Carrara Stadium

Gold Coast began playing at Carrara Stadium in their foundation year of 2009. Although the ground had existed since 1987, the Gold Coast Football Club's establishment in late 2008 prompted the club to use the stadium as their home ground during the 2009 TAC Cup. The ground opened in 1987 and was used by the Brisbane Bears for the first six years of existence and was later used by the North Melbourne Kangaroos and several professional Rugby league teams.

The insufficient and outdated facilities at Carrara Stadium led to the Australian Football League investigating several stadium options for the Gold Coast's inaugural AFL season in 2011. A new $172 million stadium in Helensvale was a strongly considered option.[51][52] The AFL eventually brokered a deal with the Gold Coast City Council and the Queensland Government to redevelop Carrara Stadium. The $144.2 million upgrade would increase the stadium capacity to 25,000.

Construction for the redevelopment of Carrara Stadium began in December 2009 and the Gold Coast was required to find a new home ground for the 2010 VFL season. The team shared their games among local grounds Fankhauser Reserve, H & A Oval and Cooke-Murphy Oval. The redevelopment ran into the 2011 AFL season and the Gold Coast were again required to find a temporary home ground. The Suns elected to use the Gabba for their first three home games of the 2011 season.

The redeveloped Carrara Stadium (commercially known as Metricon Stadium) was officially opened on 22 May 2011 by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. Six days later, the Gold Coast Suns hosted their first home match at the redeveloped Carrara Stadium against the Geelong Cats. Two months later, the Suns attracted the largest crowd ever at the Carrara Stadium in a game against Collingwood that attracted an attendance of 23,302, a record was broken in round 16 of 2014 when 24,032 also attended against Collingwood.

The seating capacity was temporarily upgraded to 40,000 as part of the Gold Coast's successful bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Whilst the Suns have played most of their home games at Metricon Stadium, there have been several times when the club has played home games away from Carrara. In 2011, the club had to find a temporary home ground as the redevelopment ran into the 2011 AFL season. The Suns elected to use the Gabba for their first three home games of the 2011 season. The Gabba was again used in 2018 AFL season as Carrara was being prepared for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In that season, they also played a home game in Cairns at Cazaly's Stadium, Perth at Optus Stadium and played the second of their home games in Shanghai at Jiangwan Stadium. This was following the club hosting the first-ever AFL game outside Australia or New Zealand in 2017 in Shanghai.

The club took a home game to their academy zone, Townsville at Riverway Stadium in 2019 before signing a deal with AFL Northern Territory to play a home game in their new academy zone Darwin at TIO Stadium from 2020 to 2024. The match scheduled for Darwin in 2021 was moved however due to COVID-19 and was played as a Suns home game at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In late June, all 18 AFL clubs relocated to Victoria due to various lockdowns due to COVID-19. This resulted in many games being relocated including a Thursday night home game from Metricon Stadium to Marvel Stadium. Brisbane Lions 'hosted' a game at Metricon Stadium against St Kilda as Greater Brisbane was still considered a red zone under Victorian COVID rules.

List of AFL Stadiums

Location Stadium Capacity Year Games
Carrara People First Stadium 25,000 2011–Present 103
Darwin TIO Stadium 12,500 2020–Present 1
Brisbane The Gabba 42,000 2011, 2018 4
Cairns Cazaly's Stadium 13,500 2018 1
Shanghai Jiangwan Stadium 11,000 2017-2018 2
Townsville Riverway Stadium 10,000 2019 1
Perth Optus Stadium 60,000 2018 1
Sydney Sydney Cricket Ground 48,000 2021 1
Melbourne Marvel Stadium 53,359 2021 1

Other home grounds used for the Suns include: AFL Pre Season: Fankhauser Reserve (2011, 2013, 2018), Riverway Stadium (2015, 2018), Merrimac Oval (2017), Great Barrier Reef Arena (2017, 2019) AFL Women's: Heritage Bank Stadium (2020-2021), Great Barrier Reef Arena (2020)



The AFL Commission owns a majority stake in the club and elects seven of the nine members of its board with the two remaining being elected by the club members.

Membership base and sponsors

Year Members Change from previous season Finishing position Average home crowd[53] Profit (Loss) Kit manufacturer Major sponsor/s Shorts Sponsor Back Sponsor
2011 14,064 N/A 17th 19,169 Undisclosed profit[54] Reebok Hostplus (Home)
Virgin Australia (Away)
REED Virgin Australia (Home)
Hostplus (Away)
2012 11,204 Decrease 2,860 17th 13,645 ($1,401,168)[55]
2013 12,502 Increase 1,298 14th 13,907 $62,533[55] 2XU
2014 13,478 Increase 976 12th 16,092 $1,062,082[56] Hostplus (Home)
Fiat Automobiles (Away)
Crust Pizza Fiat Automobiles (Home)
Hostplus (Away)
2015 13,643 Increase 165 16th 12,360 ($330,870)[57] BLK Solar Australia
2016 12,854 Decrease 789 15th 11,561 ($2,941,965) Austworld
2017 11,665 Decrease 1,189 17th 13,663 $19,219[58] XBlades Hostplus Hostplus
Increase 443 17th 13,547 $1,160,912[59] Hostplus (Home)
Cover-More (Away)
Cover-More (Home)
Hostplus (Away)
2019 13,649 Increase 1,541 18th 11,417 $248,795[60]
2020 16,236 Increase 2,587 14th 2,632 ($953,442)[61] ISC
2021 19,460 Increase 3,224 16th 6,903 ($276,219)[62]
2022 21,422 Increase 1,962 12th 11,298 ($2,600,000)[63]
2023 23,359 Increase 1,937 15th 13,733 ($1,700,000)[64]

Club symbols


The three types of guernseys are:


The Suns' Mascot Manor representative and club mascot is "Sunny Ray". In June 2018 the Suns introduced their new mascot, "Skye".[citation needed]


The team song is "Suns of the Gold Coast Sky".[65][66]

Home Ground and training and administrative base

The club's primary home ground is Carrara Stadium (known for commercial purposes as "Heritage Bank Stadium"), where they play home matches and train outdoors.[67] The club's indoor training and administrative facilities are located at the adjacent Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre.[68]


Brisbane Lions

Main article: QClash

The Gold Coast Suns have a local rivalry with fellow Queensland AFL team the Brisbane Lions. The two teams contest the "QClash" twice each season. The first QClash was held in 2011, with Gold Coast winning by 8 points; the game established the highest pay TV audience ever for an AFL game, with a total of 354,745 viewers watching the game.[36]

The medal for the player adjudged best on ground is known as the Marcus Ashcroft Medal. It is named after former footballer Marcus Ashcroft, who played junior football on the Gold Coast for Southport and 318 VFL/AFL games for the Brisbane Bears/Lions between 1989 and 2003. He later joined Gold Coast's coaching staff and was the first Queenslander to play 300 VFL/AFL games.[69] Sun Touk Miller has won the medal four times, the most by any player.

The trophy awarded to the winner of the game is currently known as the "QClash Trophy". The trophy is a traditional-looking silver cup with a wooden base and a plaque. The plaque's inscription reads from left to right, "Brisbane Lions AFC, QCLASH, Gold Coast Suns FC".[70]


A three-man committee of former Brisbane Lions chairman Graham Downie, Southport Sharks director Alan Mackenzie and lawyer and community leader John Witheriff established the club's administration.[2] As part of the AFL bid criteria, the GC17 consortium required a commitment from 20,000 locals to become football club members, a $5 million net asset base and 111 sponsors (at least one major, 10 secondary level and 100 tertiary) by mid-October 2008.[71]


Gary Ablett (no. 9) was Gold Coast's marquee player and captain

In the leadup to the 2009 AFL Draft, the AFL allowed the Gold Coast to recruit 12 players born between January and April 1992, with all other AFL clubs being restricted to players born in 1991 or earlier.

Karmichael Hunt, a professional rugby league footballer with the Brisbane Broncos and rugby union side Biarritz Olympique in France's Top 14, signed a deal reportedly worth $3.2 million[72] to swap codes and play for the Gold Coast from 2010.[25]

Gary Ablett, Jr., dual premiership player with Geelong and winner of the 2009 Brownlow Medal, signed a deal reportedly worth $9.6 million over five years to captain the Gold Coast during their starting years.[73]

Other significant signings to the junior team that played in the VFL included Stanis Susuve (a member of Papua New Guinea's International Cup winning team) and Brandon Matera (whose father Wally Matera and uncles Peter and Phil all played senior AFL football with the West Coast Eagles).[29]

At the end of 2010 season, the club had been given the following concessions:[74]

Initial 2011 playing squad recruitment

Current squad

Senior list Rookie list Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • Josh Drummond (Defence and Tackling)
  • Tate Kaesler (Team Defence and Strategy)
  • Jackson Kornberg (VFL Head Coach)
  • Rhyce Shaw (Head of Development)

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice-captain(s)
  • (B) Category B rookie
  • italics - Inactive player list
  • Long-term injury
  • (ret.) Retired

Updated: 17 July 2024
Source(s): Playing list, Coaching staff

Coaching staff

Click here for more information on Gold Coast's coaching staff

AFL Women's team

In September 2017, Gold Coast were granted a license by the AFL to compete in the AFL Women's league from the start of the 2020 season.[75] The club plays most home games at Carrara Stadium, though has occasionally played at Fankhauser Reserve in nearby Southport, and the Great Barrier Reef Arena in Mackay. The Suns women won only two of their sixteen matches across the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Inaugural coach David Lake left the club at the end of the 2021 season.[76] Lake was replaced by former North Melbourne football manager Cameron Joyce in June 2021.[77]


Senior list Rookie list Coaching staff
  • 11 Niamh McLaughlin

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice-captain(s)

Updated: 17 July 2024
Source(s): AFL Women's

Season summaries

Gold Coast AFLW honour roll
Season Ladder W–L–D Finals Coach Captain(s) Best and fairest Leading goal kicker
2020 8th ^ 2–3–1 Semi-final David Lake Leah Kaslar & Sam Virgo Jamie Stanton Kalinda Howarth (9)
2021 14th 0–9–0 DNQ Sam Virgo & Hannah Dunn Lauren Ahrens Various (3)[a]
2022 (S6) 10th 3–6–1 Cameron Joyce Hannah Dunn Alison Drennan Tara Bohanna (13)
2022 (S7) 9th 5–5–0 Tara Bohanna Charlie Rowbottom Tara Bohanna & Courtney Jones (8)
2023 5th 6–3–1 TBD TBA Jamie Stanton (16)

^ Denotes the ladder was split into two conferences. Figure refers to the club's overall finishing position in the home-and-away season.

Reserves team

Main article: Australian Football League reserves affiliations

The Gold Coast Suns fielded a reserves team beneath the AFL team in the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) competition between 2011 and 2019. Following the dissolving of the NEAFL at the end of the 2019 season, the Suns reserves team entered the Victorian Football League (VFL) in 2021[78] and claimed its first premiership in 2023 with a 19-point win against Werribee in the grand final.[79]

2024 playing squad

Gold Coast Suns reserves
Primary list Development list Coaching staff
  •  0 Beau Lester-Sutherland
  • 51 Charlie Elliott
  • 53 Harry Sullivan
  • 58 Matthew Evans
  • 59 Josh Zanker-Close
  • 62 Nathan Kady
  • 64 Nick Francis

Other Academy players

  •  0 Jai Murray
  • 54 Leo Lombard
  • 54 Lucas Snowball
  • 55 Jezz Butler
  • 55 Dylan Patterson
  • 57 Zai Millane
  • 65 Beau Addinsall
  • 66 Lachlan Gulbin

Head coach

  • Tate Kaeslar

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice-captain(s)
  • (B) Category B rookie
  • italics - Inactive player list
  • Long-term injury
  • (ret.) Retired

Updated: 12 June 2024
Source(s): [80][81][82][83][84]

Season summaries

Season Competition W–L–D Ladder position Finals result Coach Best & Fairest
2011 NEAFL
(Northern Conference)
11-7-0 3rd Semi-final Shaun Hart Jacob Gillbee
2012 9-9-0 5th Elimination final Alik Magin
2013 10-7-0 6th DNQ Jack Martin
2014 NEAFL 0-18-0 14th DNQ Josh Fraser Leigh Osborne
2015 8-10-0 7th DNQ Tyrone Downie
2016 8-10-0 6th Elimination Final Stephen Daniel Keegan Brooksby
2017 10-8-0 4th Preliminary Final Darcy Macpherson
2018 7-11-0 8th DNQ Nick Malceski Jacob Dawson
2019 8-10-0 7th DNQ Tom Nicholls
2020 Season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 VFL 4-6-0 14th DNQ Tate Kaesler[85] Will Brodie
2022 VFL 12-6-0 5th Preliminary Final Jackson Kornberg[86] TBC
2023 VFL 16-2-0 1st Premiers Josh Drummond[87] TBD

Premierships (1)

Year Competition Opponent Score Venue
2023 VFL Werribee 17.10 (112) – 14.9 (93) Ikon Park

Gold Coast Suns Academy

The Gold Coast Suns Academy, consisting of the club's best junior development signings, was formed in 2010. Over 40 of its players have gone on to play senior AFL.[88] It is one of four Northern AFL Academies including the Brisbane Lions Academy, Sydney Swans Academy and GWS Giants Academy.

2 full time staff manage selected underage players from age 12 up.[89] The academy also manages regional recruitment hubs in zones including: Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Gladstone, Northern Rivers region (New South Wales) and Darwin, Northern Territory (since 2019).

The men's and women's U16 and U18 teams have contested Division 2 of the men's and women's underage championships since 2017.

The Suns Academy also joined the Talent League for the 2019 NAB League Boys season and were inaugural winners of the Northern Academies competition.

Some of the Academy's most notable male players include the Gold Coast senior AFL players Jed Walter, Ethan Read, Jake Rogers, Will Graham, Connor Budarick, Lachie Weller, Jacob Dawson, Caleb Graham, Jack Bowes, Alex Davies, Jesse Joyce, Brad Scheer, Brayden Crossley, Jacob Heron, Max Spencer, Malcolm Rosas Jr and Joel Jeffrey. It also includes players who went on to other clubs : Bailey Scott, Braydon Preuss, Will Ashcroft, Andrew Boston and Josh Williams. Academy members who went on to excel in other sports include Patrick Murtagh and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.[90] Notable female academy players include Gold Coast senior AFLW players Lauren Bella, Dee Heslop, Taylor Smith, Tori Groves-Little, Daisy D'Arcy, Kalinda Howarth, Ellie Hampson, Serene Watson, Ashanti Bush, Jasmyn Smith, Wallis Randell, Annise Bradfield and Charlotte Hammans.

Honour board

Gold Coast Suns Honour Board
Year Position


% Chairman CEO Coach Captain Club
2009 5 10-7-1 111 John Witheriff Travis Auld Guy McKenna Marc Lock Marc Lock Matt Fowler 43
Victorian Football League
2010 10 5-12-1 83 John Witheriff Travis Auld Guy McKenna Marc Lock Sam Iles Charlie Dixon
Brandon Matera
Australian Football League
2011 17 3-19-0 56 John Witheriff Travis Auld Guy McKenna Gary Ablett Jr. Gary Ablett Jr. Danny Stanley 20
2012 17 3-19-0 61 John Witheriff Travis Auld Guy McKenna Gary Ablett Jr. Gary Ablett Jr. Gary Ablett Jr. 26
2013 14 8-14-0 92 John Witheriff Travis Auld Guy McKenna Gary Ablett Jr. Gary Ablett Jr. Gary Ablett Jr. 28
2014 12 10-12-0 94 John Witheriff Travis Auld Guy McKenna Gary Ablett Jr. David Swallow Tom Lynch 48
2015 16 4-17-1 73 John Witheriff Andrew Travis Rodney Eade Gary Ablett Jr. Tom Lynch Tom Lynch 43
2016 15 6-16-0 78 Tony Cochrane Andrew Travis Rodney Eade Gary Ablett Jr. Tom Lynch Tom Lynch 66
2017 17 6-16-0 76 Tony Cochrane Mark Evans Rodney Eade
Dean Solomon
Tom Lynch
Steven May
Gary Ablett Jr. Tom Lynch 44
2018 17 4-18-0 60 Tony Cochrane Mark Evans Stuart Dew Tom Lynch
Steven May
Jarrod Harbrow Alex Sexton 28
2019 18 3-19-0 61 Tony Cochrane Mark Evans Stuart Dew David Swallow
Jarrod Witts
Jarrod Witts Alex Sexton 39
2020 14 5-11-1 91 Tony Cochrane Mark Evans Stuart Dew David Swallow
Jarrod Witts
Sam Collins Ben King 25
2021 16 7-15-0 77 Tony Cochrane Mark Evans Stuart Dew David Swallow
Jarrod Witts
Touk Miller Ben King 47
2022 12 10-12-0 103 Tony Cochrane Mark Evans Stuart Dew Touk Miller
Jarrod Witts
Touk Miller Mabior Chol 44
2023 15 9-14-0 92 Bob East Mark Evans Stuart Dew
Steven King
Touk Miller
Jarrod Witts
Noah Anderson Ben King 40

Club records

Main article: List of Gold Coast Suns records

Club honours

Competition Team Wins Years Won
Australian Football League (2011–present) Seniors (Men) 0 Nil
North East Australian Football League (2011–2019)
Victorian Football League (2021–present)
Reserves (Men) 1 2023
AFL Women's (2020–present) Seniors (Women) 0 Nil
Other titles and honours
NAB League Academy Series (2009, 2019–present) Under 19s 1 2019
Finishing positions
Australian Football League Minor premiership 0 Nil
Grand Finalist 0 Nil
Wooden spoons 2 2011, 2019
AFL Women's Minor premiership 0 Nil
Grand Finalist 0 Nil
Wooden spoons 1 2021
Victorian Football League Minor premiership 1 2023

Match and season records

AFL finishing positions (2011–present)

Finishing Position Year (Finals in Bold) Tally
Premiers nil 0
Runner Up nil 0
3rd nil 0
4th nil 0
5th nil 0
6th nil 0
7th nil 0
8th nil 0
9th nil 0
10th nil 0
11th nil 0
12th 2014, 2022 2
13th nil 0
14th 2013, 2020 2
15th 2016, 2023 2
16th 2015, 2021 2
17th 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018 4
18th 2019 1

Individual awards

All-Australian team

Leigh Matthews Trophy

AFLW All-Australian team

Brownlow Medal

Ron Evans Medal


  1. ^ Six players jointly won the club goalkicking for the 2021 season, with three goals for each player. Those players were Kalinda Howarth, Leah Kaslar, Maddison Levi, Sarah Perkins, Jamie Stanton and Sam Virgo.

Notable Supporters

See also



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