AFL legend Paul Roos expressed concern recently that players’ agents were advising their clients not to consider going to the Gold Coast Suns.
If we were players, we would consider that an insult to our intelligence, along the lines of the way we feel if Cooper Cronk told us not to go to the Western Force.
The reality is that the Gold Coast clubs serve only as a place for players to secure financial windfalls before bolting back to the clubs where there is some prospect of some on field success.
The Suns will lose Tom Lynch at the end of the season. Steven May is stuck on the Glitter Strip until the end of 2019. Gary Ablett could not wait to escape. He would have played for Geelong for zero dollars.
In the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition, the Suns have won only four times out of 18 tries. They won six games in all of 2017, six in 2016 and four in 2015.
We would say that their prospects for 2018 might be five wins, but they lost to Carlton, so the Round 22 meeting with the Brisbane Lions is not a certainty of any sort.
Roos has more or less a permanent seat on Fox Footy’s On The Couch, from which he recently mentioned an article that stated, “Leading player agents have told the Herald Sun that they would block any attempts to trade their players up north due to the club’s flailing on-field prospects.”
Most agents we know of receive a percentage of a players’ contract. It is in the agents’ best interests to find the spot where the player will get the highest pay. Altruism is not in the vocabulary of sports agents, unless it would be misused, such as, “All that’s true is I’m looking out for number one.”
Gold Coast has the second-lowest average attendance per home game in the AFL. Only Greater Western Sydney is lower, despite that club’s reasonable results. Carlton, even as bad as they are, brings in about 2.5 times as many fans for a home fixture.
If you want fans at AFL fixtures in NSW and Queensland, the best policy would be to tell ticket buyers that they are purchasing seats to watch rugby.