Season preview: Suns ready to rise after 2021 disaster

Club: Gold Coast

Coach: Cameron Joyce

Captain: Hannah Dunn

2021 best and fairest: Lauren Ahrens

Gold Coast's Lauren Ahrens at the W Awards on April 20, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

2021 in a nutshell: Not much short of a disaster for the Suns, who dropped off significantly from a promising debut in 2020 to finish with the wooden spoon. Following a solid showing in the opening round against Melbourne, they were pulverised by Brisbane and Fremantle in the ensuing weeks and never recovered, failing to win a match all season. Defenders Lauren Ahrens and Jade Pregelj, along with midfielders Jamie Stanton and Alison Drennan, were consistent performers, but Gold Coast battled to score and were not overly competitive. Coach David Lake resigned at season's end.

Full squad: Lauren Ahrens, Janet Baird, Alana Barba, Lauren Bella, Tara Bohanna, Ashanti Bush, Daisy D'Arcy, Giselle Davies, Shannon Danckert, Ali Drennan, Hannah Dunn, Jacqueline Dupuy, Tori Groves-Little, Cheyenne Hammond, Ellie Hampson, Dee Heslop, Kalinda Howarth, Bess Keaney, Sarah Perkins, Brittany Perry, Jade Pregelj, Wallis Randell, Charlie Rowbottom, Vivien Saad, Lucy Single, Jamie Stanton, Kate Surman, Serene Watson, Claudia Whitfort, Jacqui Yorston

Recruits: Alana Barba (Essendon VFLW, replacement player), Tara Bohanna (Southern Saints VFLW, replacement player), Shannon Danckert (Bond Uni QAFLW, replacement player), Jacqueline Dupuy (Maroochydore QAFLW, replacement player), Vivien Saad (North Melbourne), Claudia Whitfort (St Kilda)

Draftees: Ashanti Bush, Giselle Davies, Teagan Levi, Charlie Rowbottom

With the No.1 pick, Gold Coast selects...

01:06 Jul 27. 2021. 7:31 PM

The Suns take Charlie Rowbottom with the first selection in the 2021 NAB AFLW Draft

Inactive: Annise Bradfield (ACL), Maddi Levi (rugby), Teagan Levi (rugby), Emma Pittman (work)

Out: Sally Riley, Sam Virgo (retired), Georgia Bevan, Jordann Hickey, Leah Kaslar, Paige Parker, Molly Ritson (delisted)

2022 opponents: Greater Western Sydney (H), West Coast (A), Brisbane (H), Richmond (H), Melbourne (A), Geelong (H), Western Bulldogs (A), St Kilda (H), Carlton (A), Collingwood (A).

REVEALED: The 2022 NAB AFLW fixture is here

05:11 Dec 2. 2021. 12:45 PM

Every team, all the match-ups, where you need to be and when

Circle it: Look no further than the QClash against Brisbane in round three. Gold Coast was embarrassed in the corresponding fixture in 2021, losing by 10-plus goals and failing to kick a goal. The Suns will be out to show they've not only improved, but can take it up to the reigning premier.

2022 FIXTURE Check out who your club will face

Player to watch: We saw glimpses of her talent last season, and Lucy Single is set to continue her ascension in 2022. She is quick, agile, has a nice sleight of hand and a great aerobic motor that can make her a handful on the wing or at half-forward.

'A big shock for me': Sun reflects on epic first career goal

01:39 Dec 17. 2021. 6:00 AM

Lucy Single signals arrival with stunning goal in debut year at Gold Coast

Best NAB AFLW Rising Star chance: Charlie Rowbottom

2022 prediction: The Suns will likely be in the lower half again as they build from the bottom up. They have stability in the key defensive posts and an exciting ruck in Lauren Bella who gives them a good platform to be competitive. The acquisition of No.1 draft pick Charlie Rowbottom, who is ready-made to contribute, adds excitement, while Gold Coast would love to see a return to form of 2020 All-Australian Kalinda Howarth. The first month provides a great opportunity under new coach Cameron Joyce, with winnable matches against GWS, West Coast and Richmond, along with a meeting against QClash rivals Brisbane.