Gold Coast Suns player Jack Lukosius has copped a serve from AFL great David King, who claimed one of the youngster's efforts against Essendon was 'disrespectful' to his teammates. The Suns fell to 0-2 on the season after a 28-point loss to the Bombers on Sunday, with questions arising about some of the performances of the Gold Coast players.
The two sides were actually level at three-quarter time, but the Suns fell away badly in the final term as the Bombers found another gear. Speaking on Fox Footy show 'First Crack', King pinpointed one moment in the fourth quarter in which Lukosius failed to track Nic Martin and allowed the Bombers to kick a crucial goal.
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King highlighted vision in which Ben Ainsworth told Lukosius to mark up on Martin, but the 22-year-old let his opponent get too far ahead of him as the Bombers kicked the ball downfield. An unmarked Martin was able to scoop up a loose ball and pass over the top for Matt Guelfi to run into the goal square and kick an easy goal.
"This destroys any form of culture you have at your footy club,” King said of Lukosius' effort. “Ainsworth says: ‘Hey, Jack, you take Martin, I’ve got to hold my spot in the corridor’ … Now you commit to that and you see it through, because if you don’t see it through, you burn young players down back.
"(Ben) Long’s been there two games and this young fella (Bodhi) Uwland is just starting out. You can’t allow that to happen. That is so disrespectful."
King was left to ponder whether Lukosius is “the sickness or the cure" at the Suns. "Is he there to correct this problem and take this club forward? He’s on big money and he’s been a high draft pick and all those things, but in the end, you act your way in and out of a footy club," King added.
“I’d be fuming if I was a teammate seeing that and saying: ‘Is that the best you’ve got? We’re fighting tooth and nail down back to stay in this game.’ I watched (Touk) Miller push himself, I watched (Matt) Rowell go to the absolute extremes – and then I see that and I think: ‘Take a stand Gold Coast, shift the course of your culture and not just drop guys because it’s a name, drop them because of the effort they’re providing. That’s unacceptable. That is not AFL standard and particularly at a club that’s fighting for relevance.”
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King said Lukosius - the No.2 pick in the 2018 draft - should have simply body-checked Martin early in the passage of play to save himself the running. “You can save yourself a 100m sprint by putting your body in the way and body-checking. It’s not that hard,” he said.
“Watch what the Sydney Swans do, they do it every play. If you miss them, you’re on your bike, it’s 100m because you told your teammate ‘I’ll get this job done for you’.
“So as soon as you wave that white flag and say ‘too hard for me’, you burn the two youngsters down behind you and you cough up a goal when they were in that game up to their ears. Because of a couple of sloppy efforts and a couple of guys that said ‘too hard for me’, it’s over and all of a sudden the club comes under pressure. You’ve got to get that out of your footy club. I don’t know how you do it – whether you drop them, whether you delist them, whether you trade them – but something’s got to shift.”
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