Solomon’s ‘ugly’ vision to make Suns shine

He may only be in charge for one more AFL game, but interim Gold Coast coach Dean Solomon is intent on teaching the Suns the art of playing ugly while he is in charge.

The long-time Suns assistant is adamant that is the path to success, pointing to Sydney’s success when explaining his method after Saturday’s 33-point loss to Essendon.

Gold Coast at times dropped an extra two men into defence at Metricon Stadium in an effort to starve the Bombers of points.

And it worked to a degree, the visitors leading by just 10 at the final break before adding four goals in the final term when the Suns opted to send men forward and hunt a win.

It was Solomon’s second game in charge since the axing of Rodney Eade, with the position up for grabs next season.

But it was a clear shift in approach that the interim coach hopes sticks beyond this season.

“We’re showing right now we’ve got a lot of work to do to become a finals side, but with that type of game plan it shows you can hang in and be within 10 points at three-quarter time, and play ugly footy,” he said.

“I’m not sure this footy club has played ugly footy over our journey.

“Clearly we saw a shift tonight … it was a bit of growth tonight, but we’re still not happy with the result.”

The Suns have never finished higher than 12th in six seasons and are still a chance of collecting the wooden spoon if results go against them.

But Solomon is looking at the bigger picture.

“What’s grand final day? It’s just brutal isn’t it? It is ugly footy,” he said.

“If you prepare them now for the future – if you ever get the opportunity to walk up the race on grand final day – at least you feel like you’ve been there time and time again.”

The coach said the Swans were the “greatest example” of how it can work.

“They play brutal footy week in, week out,” he said.

“We’re looking at a similar brand and it’s going to take a bit of time for our players to get their heads around it and understand what it’s going to take.

“It’s really hard, but we’re really confident it’s a finals brand of footy and that’s where we need to head.”

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