Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade has revealed mateship was a factor in choosing the Suns four top ten draft picks, as the club completed a stunning off-season overhaul.
The Queensland club used their first round picks on Friday to secure small forward-midfielder Ben Ainsworth (pick four), defender Jack Scrimshaw (seven), and midfielders Will Brodie (nine) and Jack Bowes (ten).
“The top ten picks are close to playing for round one,” Eade told AAP.
“They are all pretty good friends, they’ve all got the same manager, so there’s real synergy about them all building for the future, all together..
“That was in our thought process and all can play really good footy.”
The quartet supplemented the additions during the trade period, when the Suns acquired four players with a combined 350 games of senior experience in midfielders Michael Barlow and Jarryd Lyons, ruckman Jarrod Witts and defender Pearce Hanley
Those players were drawn from clubs in four different states, a significant fact for a club which has sometimes had problems holding on to players from outside Queensland.
‘We’ve got players from all around Australia to come to the club which is great, it’s exciting that players want to come to our club,” Eade said.
‘We were able to get experience that is going to help us and then we’ve got four genuine top ten players.”
Eade cited a number of qualities Ainsworth possessed which made him their top draft pick.
‘”He’s so dynamic, he’s got good speed, he’s a very good mark and he’s a competitor,” Eade said.
“He’s a driven young lad, he doesn’t get comfortable, he wants to get the best out of himself, but he’s got some rare talent a lot of players haven’t got.”
Ainsworth had been reported as wanting to go to the Suns intra-state rivals Brisbane, though he downplayed that on Friday.
“I’m happy for where I am now, and I’m very humbled and grateful for the opportunity the Suns have given me,” Ainsworth said.
He described the prospect of playing in a forward line including Tom Lynch as “enticing” and made it clear the chance to play senior football in his first season was a major reason why he had been interested in joining one of the battling Queensland clubs.