Suns AFL coach says recruits earned pay - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Suns AFL coach says recruits earned pay

Laine Clark 31/08/2011 07:07:41 PM Comments (0)

They might still yet claim the AFL wooden spoon but Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna believed the Suns' highly-paid recruits had more than earned their keep in 2011.

The Gold Coast will draw the curtain on their historic debut season in a match where, again, they appear to be lambs to the slaughter - a Carrara clash with a high-flying Hawthorn on Saturday.

Just a win ahead of last-placed Port Adelaide, the Suns - in their inaugural year - still face the dreaded spoon if they suffer a horror loss to the Hawks.

This is not something out of the question from a side that has lost games by 150 and 139 points this season.

However, McKenna said senior players of the likes of Gary Ablett - who is rumoured to have signed on for up to $1.9 million a season - had justified their paychecks this year.

He dipped his hat to the likes of Ablett, Nathan Bock, Jared Brennan, Michael Rischitelli, Campbell Brown and Jarrod Harbrow after taking on an enormous workload on arrival on the tourist strip.

"A lot can be said about how much money they've made but, to a man, they've earned every dollar," McKenna said.

While being relegated to last place on debut was a very real possibility, McKenna said they were looking at another milestone this weekend - their first home win.

The Suns made their debut at Carrara in round 10 against Geelong after playing their first three home games at the Gabba but have come away from every match unsatisfied.

All three of their season's wins have been away.

"It (wooden spoon) is not something you set your mind to - our motivation is to be the best we can week in, week out," McKenna said.

"You prefer to go in flying the flag and charging into the pre-season rather than losing and limping and getting whacked. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.

"It's important we finish well.

"(Our supporters) have been loud and proud for us for the whole season.

"They sit there and look on in hope and there comes a time we need to deliver on hope.

"I'm not saying it will be this weekend, but we need to make sure they come to the game with some hope."

McKenna said taking on a finals-bound side would provide a last, timely gauge for his emerging side ahead of 2012.

"We get an opportunity against a top-four side - if nothing else, it will be a mental challenge this week," he said.

"We know if we back off against Hawthorn, they will open us up.

"They are one of the best sides with their ferocity at the footy and we have to match that to give ourselves any chance.

"That's not a physical thing, that's a mental challenge."

McKenna hinted Jacob Gillbee would be their season's 34th debutant this weekend.

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