The Gold Coast Suns are making sure that no other clubs can nab their emerging talent, locking in four Academy products ahead of tonight’s AFL Draft.
As part of the AFL’s concessions granted to the club in late 2019, the Gold Coast are able to pre-list Academy selections without the need to match bids by rival clubs until 2021.
Graduates Alex Davies and Joel Jeffrey have been added to the club’s primary list for the 2021 AFL season while Rhys Nicholls and Aiden Fyfe have been added to the rookie list.
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The signings mean almost a third of the Suns overall list comes from Queensland or Suns Academy pathways.
National Recruiting Manager Kall Burns said the club’s investment in the Academy program was continuing to provide pathways for talented juniors.
“We remain focused on building the scope and quality of our Academy program and ensuring we provide talented Queensland, Northern Rivers and Northern Territory players with the opportunity to fulfil their aspirations,” Burns said.
“Alex and Joel are terrific examples of the Academy supporting the development of talented, exciting young players who wish to pursue careers in the AFL.
“Alex is a tall, strong-bodied midfielder who has really impressed us with his attitude and determination. He will be a great addition to our midfield mix.
“Joel is an athletic, attacking half-back, half-forward type and is an exciting player with a dash of flair. He adds something a bit different to our list and is a credit to the Northern Territory talent pathway program.”
Davies said he was thrilled to officially join the club after relocating from Cairns to pursue his football career.
“I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to come to the Gold Coast, it was the right decision for me,” Davies said.
“I want to have a good pre-season and give myself the best opportunity to earn some respect around the club and hopefully get a game.”
Jeffrey originates from Darwin and joined the Academy through the club’s burgeoning partnership with the region.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’ll definitely take it with two hands and do the most I can to work hard,” Jeffery said.
“I just want to get a spot in the forward line so I’m definitely going to work hard for that and hopefully achieve that and play my first game.”
The club’s new rookies, Nicholls and Fyfe, both played their junior footy here on the Gold Coast.
Nicholls has been in the Suns Academy since he was 12.
“I can’t wait for the journey to start and I’m really looking forward to it,” Nicholls said.
“I’ve trained a couple of times and played a few NEAFL games with the boys so I’m looking forward to cracking in with them.”
Fyfe said it was a dream come true to play for the team he grew up supporting.
“I always wanted to play for the Suns and my family love the Suns and we’ve grown up here my whole life so I can’t wait,” Fyfe said.
“I just want to show the coaches what I can do and put my best foot forward.”