We've turned a corner, says Suns AFL boss

Roger Vaughan
Gold Coast Suns chairman Tony Cochrane says the club are set to turn things around in 2020

Gold Coast chairman Tony Cochrane is bullish about the struggling AFL expansion club, declaring they have turned the corner.

As expected, the Suns used their top selections in the draft to recruit Matt Rowell at No.1 and then his long-time friend Noah Anderson with the second pick.

Fellow midfielder Sam Flanders is also headed north after a trade of picks with Carlton meant the Suns recruited him at No.11.

It follows last year's draft, where Gold Coast used their top-10 picks on Jack Lukosius and Ben King.

Gold Coast gained the extra top pick this year as part of a generous AFL assistance package.

Asked if he felt they had now turned the corner, Cochrane replied at Wednesday night's draft: "yes I do - a lot of people out there would probably dispute that.

"I'm not suggesting next year we're finalists or anything like that, but you can just tell.

"Great footy clubs are about great people and it's taken us a while, but from top to bottom, the Gold Coast footy club has great people."

Despite some interest from rival clubs, the Suns were fixed on recruiting Rowell and Anderson and were never going to trade away their top two selections.

"We've been really focused on these two outstanding young talents for the best part of a year and there's been a lot of work, a lot of planning," Cochrane said.

"We just have so many quality people around the club now.

"There's absolutely a deliberate strategy - we want to build a great group of people.

One of the biggest problems for the Suns has been retaining players, with a succession of stars defecting from the club.

Cochrane said co-captains David Swallow and Jarrod Witts had been underrated in their work building a stronger spirit around the club.

"If you look in the last 12 months, we've signed 17 of our players," Cochrane said.

"If you come up to the club now, the atmosphere and confidence, it's a really good place to be."

Rowell said the Suns confirmed last week that he would be their No.1 pick.

"I will never forget the moment - it was just relief and joy - it was pretty amazing," he said.

"Obviously there will be a bit of expectation and pressure, but I think pressure is privilege."