Gold Coast’s re-signing of gun midfielder David Swallow is another sign the Suns are on the rebound after a tough couple of years.
Swallow, a member of the Suns’ inaugural side, has committed to stay until the end of 2019 and has finally returned to the track after struggling with persistent knee troubles.
The 24-year-old was sidelined for all of this season and has only played six games since a breakout year in 2014 when he claimed the Suns’ best-and-fairest award.
His re-signing couldn’t have come at a better time after the Suns lost midfielders Jaeger O’Meara and Dion Prestia during the AFL trade period, having parted ways with Charlie Dixon and Harley Bennell the previous year.
Gold Coast, who have managed a total of just 10 wins since 2014, have also had to deal with speculation about star veteran Gary Ablett’s future after confirming they had knocked back his request for a return to Geelong.
Ablett, who has since relinquished the Gold Coast captaincy, has declared he is wholly committed to the Suns but is no certainty to play on beyond 2017.
But Swallow’s decision to stay shows it’s not all doom and gloom on the Gold Coast.
The Suns emerged from this year’s draft with four top-10 picks in Ben Ainsworth, Jack Scrimshaw, Will Brodie and Jack Bowes, all of whom are capable of slotting into the side for round one next year.
Gun forward Tom Lynch is almost certain to replace Ablett as captain, while former Fremantle midfielder Michael Barlow will add welcome experience.
The No.1 pick in the 2010 draft, Swallow announced his decision to stay with the Suns in a letter to members.
“The last couple of seasons have been challenging for me on a personal level and I appreciate the support I have received from all of you during this time,” he wrote.
“Feeling the pain from training as hard as you can is a pain I haven’t experienced in a long time and I can’t tell you how happy I am to be in that position.”