Tom Lynch of the Gold Coast Suns.
Tom Lynch of the Gold Coast Suns. DAN PELED

Eade talks up Gold Coast's finals chances

RODNEY Eade is hoping it's a new dawn for his Suns as they embark on the 2017 season full of optimism.

Barring a serious hip injury to key forward Sam Day, the injury list is as short as it's been during Eade's two-and-a-bit years at the helm.

And there's no major contract cloud hanging over the club either.

Gary Ablett and David Swallow are back fit and ready to fire, while wantaways Charlie Dixon, Harley Bennell, Jaeger O'Meara and Dion Prestia have all moved on, leaving a far more harmonic club.

They've been replaced by established stars Pearce Hanley, Michael Barlow, Jarrod Witts and Jarryd Lyons, and a group of promising draftees who have already recommitted until at least 2020.

"There's a lot of teams that can challenge for finals," Eade said yesterday ahead of the round-one QClash at Metricon Stadium against Brisbane.

"If you read the press there's a lot of players talking their chances up - by last count I think there was 14 (clubs) that think they can make the finals.

"We believe we're in that conversation."

Buoyed by a summer of content, Eade expected his new-look side to gel well.

"I think you'll find most teams after rounds one, two and three will have some areas to work on, so I don't think it's going to be absolutely perfect," he said.

"But I think the way the new guys have integrated with the players has been terrific, and they've shown some leadership and got some form behind them, so I think it'll be okay."

Two of the draftees, Victorian tough nut Ben Ainsworth (pick No.4) and silky smooth Queenslander Jack Bowes (No.10), will debut tomorrow.

"Sometimes players who arrive touted with ability tend to think they've made it, they tend to cruise a bit, but I haven't seen any of that with these lads," Eade said. "Their attitude has been fantastic."

Led by new co-captains and bookends Tom Lynch and Steve May, the Suns will go into QClash 13 as favourites. Eade said the four points was what the side was after not bragging rights.

"There's been a bit of rivalry built up, but sometimes it can be a bit of hot air as well," Eade said.

"It's about putting your head over the ball and winning the footy, so that's what we're focused on, we're focused on us.

"It's four points we need to get, whether that's against Hawthorn or Brisbane or Geelong, that doesn't matter."

News Corp Australia


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