No late-season bye for Suns - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No late-season bye for Suns

John Salvado 29/10/2010 03:07:48 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast's bevy of youngsters won't get the chance to recharge their batteries in the latter stages of a gruelling AFL debut season in 2011.

The Suns were pleased with a schedule that delivered them big-drawing home games at Carrara against Victorian powerhouses Geelong, Collingwood, St Kilda and Hawthorn.

They also take on Richmond in Cairns in an away fixture on July 16.

But with the Gabba unavailable until early April and the Carrara redevelopment ruling that venue out until late May, the AFL decided the league's 17th club would be best served by having its two byes early in the year.

The Suns will have their weeks off in rounds one and nine, with their AFL debut coming against Carlton at the Gabba on April 2.

The first Carrara fixture on May 28 will pit gun Suns recruit Gary Ablett against his former Geelong teammates.

"We're extremely pleased with our draw in our very first season in the AFL. In essence we've got exactly what we would have liked," said Suns chief executive Travis Auld.

"Our request to the AFL centred around the ability to bring some of the big Melbourne clubs up to the Gold Coast to reward all those people who've come on board and supported us on our journey.

"We now have a wonderful opportunity to fill our new stadium on a number of occasions and to reward those who've been with us from the very beginning.

"It also gives us the opportunity to build something special around our home games for the fans."

The Suns play their first three home games at the Gabba against the Blues, Melbourne and Brisbane - the inaugural Queensland derby - with their remaining eight home fixtures at Carrara.

Although the Suns were broadly happy with their schedule, AFL chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan said Guy McKenna's Gold Coast would have preferred one of their two weeks off coming at the tail-end of the season.

"The challenge for the Gold Coast is that they were keen to have a bye later in thefixture because they will have a very young team with young bodies who they felt would really be needing the break later in the year," he said on Friday.

"But they are very keen also to be playing in front of their home crowd on the Gold Coast as often as possible.

"With that venue not available the best way to mitigate the impact was to have the byes early."

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