UPDATE 8:45 PM | The CEO of the Gold Coast SUNS says the announcement of a women’s AFL team here on the Gold Coast is the best thing to happen to the club since its birth – and the ‘Ablett deal’ is anything but.
The SUNS have secured an AFLW licence for their very own female team in 2020, it was announced on Wednesday.
Speaking to 102.9 Hot Tomato’s Galey, Mal and Moyra on Wednesday afternoon, Evans said it was the club’s most significant day since the SUNS arrived on the Coast.
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“It has been an unbelievable day for us, probably the most significant day since the SUNS arrived on the Gold Coast to hear that we are going to get a team for our girls,” Evans told the Hot Tomato presenters.
“They’ll be able to play in front of their friends, and family, and the community and I can just imagine how exciting that is going to be for the growth of the code and for the girls themselves.
“I can just imagine how exciting it is when you look on the TV and you see heroes running around, idols running around, and to think that is going to be in your backyard.
“There is lots of work to do over the next two years in making sure that our girls are ready for all of that but it’s just so exciting.”
Evans said getting an AFL Women’s team here on the Gold Coast will give an unbelievable boost to young women hoping to break into the sport.
Galey, Mal and Moyra also took the time to ask Evans to clarify mounting speculation surrounding SUNS player Gary Ablett’s request to be traded back to the Geelong Cats during the upcoming exchange period.
When pressed on the matter, Evans said it was far from a done deal.
“I am not sure where that came from … it certainly wasn’t from any of our staff,” he said.
“Gary came to us yesterday and said that it was his preference to go to Geelong.
“He still has a year of his contract with us so we said to him that there would be some conditions that would need to be met if that was going to happen.
“I am unsure whether they can be met or not but probably in the next three weeks we will play that one out.”
Evans also told the radio station the club was close to selecting its new coach.
“It has been a terrific process, there are a lot of people in the industry that are worth talking to and we are part way through that process now and I would expect that will play out over the next two and a half weeks as well.”
– Additional reporting by Jaydan Duck.
FIRST at 12:20 PM | Women will be kicking goals for the Gold Coast SUNS from 2020 with the announcement the club has successfully obtained an AFLW licence for their very own female team.
The SUNS successful bid for a women’s licence was announced following a meeting of the AFL Commission on Wednesday.
GC SUNS Chief Executive Mark Evans said the establishment of an AFLW team will inspire true equality for females throughout the Gold Coast, North Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
“We are incredibly proud to have the opportunity to establish a team for our girls. We may be non-traditional AFL markets, but the Gold Coast, North Queensland and Northern New South Wales are booming female participation markets and the girls deserve a team,” Evans said.
“This is a significant day for our club and the game here in Queensland.”
#GetSet Queensland 🏉
The SUNS have successfully obtained an AFLW licence for the 2020 season.
— GC SUNS (@GoldCoastSUNS) September 27, 2017
Mr Evans said that over the past seven years, there has been a staggering 280% increase in female participation in the raw AFL market.
“These numbers demonstrate that at a community level our game is for women as much as men, while at the elite level, Queensland is talent ready for a second AFLW team.
“Over the next three drafts it’s anticipated that 14 Gold Coast Academy players will be drafted and that’s only going to grow.”
Evans said discussions had begun with AFL Queensland around the best way to strengthen women’s football on the Gold Coast and prepare the SUNS for entry into the AFLW.
“Discussions are underway to establish a presence in the state league competition in 2018. What that looks like is still to be finalised, but it needs to be an outcome that assists AFLQ, the local clubs and allows the Gold Coast and its players to Get Set for 2020.”
North Melbourne and Geelong will join the women’s league in 2019, with the Gold Coast, West Coast, Richmond and St Kilda coming on board in 2020.
— AFL Women’s (@aflwomens) September 27, 2017