In the past seven years, since Gold Coast’s debut in 2011, two or more of those clubs have finished in the bottom four six times.
For all the talent, handouts and concessions given to the Suns, is 12th really the best they can do?
Gary Ablett was lured there with promises and big money, and now he’s back home, without even having left a legacy at Gold Coast.
Dion Prestia, a No.9 draft pick, was traded to Richmond in 2016, where he now owns a premiership medallion.
Current Suns captain Tom Lynch is being courted by at least three of the big clubs, where he is, let’s face it, more likely to play finals.
He will leave, I’m certain of it, despite the AFL’s inducements to make him stay.
Former Giant Adam Treloar has boosted the Magpies’ stocks, just as Caleb Marchbank has at Carlton.
Tom Boyd led the Bulldogs to a premiership after being lured from GWS.
The player drain won’t end there — Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene and Dylan Shiel are the next targets at GWS.
Free agency is on the verge of killing these clubs, one young talented player at a time.
The AFL has bitten off more than it can chew with four clubs in rugby league territory.
Let’s not forget its shallow attempt to break into the rugby league market with the appointment of Karmichael Hunt at the Suns, and Israel Folau at GWS. They were short-lived disasters. As it is, four clubs are competing for a virtually non-existent supporter base and minimal sponsorship opportunities.
Remember the crowd number — 14,865 people — at the Giants’ home semi-final against West Coast Eagles last year? It was the lowest AFL finals crowd in 100 years.
Next door almost 42,000 fans watched an NRL semi-final.
Compare that to the 95,000-plus who watched Richmond and Geelong at the MCG the weekend before.
There is an under-utilised AFL dominant state in our country that deserves a team in the league, and that is Tasmania.
All the money the AFL spends to keep the Suns afloat in a transient, holiday city — where no professional sporting code has ever fared well — could be put to better use by moving them south and forming the Tasmanian Suns.
The crowds would be bigger, the support greater and, by getting Tasmanian football back on track, another talent pool would emerge for all the clubs’ takings.
And it’s needed. Because suddenly there is a dearth of young AFL talent across the country. We are losing kids to other sporting codes and the result is that there are not enough quality players to supply 18 teams.
Fewer players were drafted last year than in previous times.
Clubs are topping up their lists with mature-aged players, and holding onto senior players for longer. It is a worry.
Currently, Brisbane is 17th and Gold Coast is 13th. Aside from the Lions’ dominant era in the early 2000s, development of AFL football in Queensland has stalled.
It is, however, already established in Tasmania, and it’s time to make the most of it.