Out with the old, in with the new.
As though Stuart Dew did not have enough on his plate simply by being the head coach of the Gold Coast Suns, his list for the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership competition has 25 new players and staff, as it seems that all the gold on the Gold Coast has been sent south.
The worst blow to the Suns came in the departures of Tom Lynch and Steve May. In their places are players from the next calibre down, such as Anthony Miles and George Horlin-Smith, both of whom could not gain traction at bigger clubs.
Miles managed only 10 games for Greater Western Sydney over the2012 and 2013 seasons. He seemed on course with Richmond, playing 23 games in 2015 and 19 in 2016, but the last two seasons saw him making only six appearances with the Tigers.
Horlin-Smith played 51 games for the Geelong Cats over seven seasons, but just seven in 2017 and four last season.
Dew was philosophical about the prospect of coaching what is basically an entire new group.
“To be honest they’ve signed on in the right way when previously I think players signed on long-term because it looked really good on paper,” Dew told SEN. “We haven’t overpaid. We certainly value them where they’re at. But to have guys say, ‘Well, we believe in what we’re doing’, I think the impact it’s had on the playing group has been significant.”
Coaches must express optimism. Bookies can afford to be more objective.
The Suns face the Saints in Round 1 as 30.5-point underdogs. We never thought we would be typing that sort of spread with the Saints as favourites. The Suns are quoted at $501 to win the premiership, $350 below the Carlton Blues.
Dew will be leaning heavily on his top-10 draft picks, Ben King, Izak Rankine and jack Lukosius, even if all three might already have travel brochures for flights to Melbourne in their changing room stalls.