Time on the road brings AFL's Suns closer

Oliver Caffrey
Thousands of kilometres on the road has brought the Suns closer, says head coach Stuart Dew

A gruelling travel schedule has helped Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew connect better with his players.

The two-time premiership player has endured one of the most difficult starts to an AFL coaching career possible.

Not only did superstar Gary Ablett head back to Geelong two weeks after he was appointed, the Suns' home of Metricon Stadium has been off limits due to the Commonwealth Games.

Until now.

It's round 11 this weekend and the Suns will have their first home game on the Gold Coast on Saturday, which ironically, sees Ablett return with his Cats.

They sold a home game to play Fremantle at Optus Stadium, were smashed by Melbourne at Brisbane's Gabba and ventured to China.

About 38,000 kms has so far been clocked up on the road during a year which has also included trips to Cairns, Melbourne, Adelaide and Ballarat.

Gold Coast had a similar situation in their debut season in 2011 when Metricon Stadium was being upgraded, not playing at home until round 10 which was also against Geelong.

While it's been far from ideal, Dew says he's been able to learn more about his players.

"It's been unique and to get to know them off field it's been a lot of downtime together and travel and so you get to know the personalities of the players," he said on Wednesday.

"In a game sense we're still challenging them and working out how we push the buttons of each player."

The Suns will be boosted for the clash by the return of star forward Tom Lynch, who hasn't played since the round six loss against Adelaide.

"Four weeks ago when we decided to take the path we did with (Lynch) we mapped it out well and hes' really fit and strong so we welcome him back," Dew said.