The Suns have the makings of a future premiership side, there is no doubting this. The leadership of Gary Ablett and his brigade of young midfield stars in O’Meara, Bennell and Prestia are beginning to look very scary indeed. Meanwhile, Rory Thompson is developing into one of the best defensive prospects in the league.
However, there seems to be a lack of key forward options at this point in time. There are a number of recruits that have been showing signs of potential, but none have taken that next step like the on-ballers and defenders previously mentioned.
As you filter through some of the key forward on Gold Coast’s list, it seems like there is boundless raw talent on offer, but the one player who could really dominate in the future is Sam Day. Taken with pick 3 in the Suns first ever draft in 2010, he was chosen to provide a powerhouse avenue to goal for the next decade.
However, so far in his career, there have been few examples of his potential, with Day only averaging half a goal a game and 3.2 marks. These stats are slightly below par even for a young player. At 21 years old, Day is starting to reach the time period where key position players really increase their development in terms of strength and the reading of the play. He has excellent marking ability and his goal sense is quite good for a bigger man.
All he needs now is to improve the mental aspects of his game along with some endurance and agility issues. One possible reason for Day’s lack of dominance early on in his career has been the rotating roster of key forwards that the Gold Coast have utilized. He is one of five or six young key position players that have been given the chance to take charge.
As much as Guy McKenna and co would love all of them to succeed, it’s not possible for Day, Tom Lynch, Charlie Dixon and Steven May to co-exist in the same forward line. Therefore they need to make a decision soon, as to which prospects they will stick with in the long run. With Day re-signing for two years, it provides the Suns with a steady foundation as they enter finals contention.
A possible direction Gold Coast could take is making Day a permanent defender, as he was tested in defence a number of times in 2013. Developing a more defensive-minded skill set can improve on a key forward’s reading of the play and can help them get a leg up on the opposition. Whatever pecking order is decided upon in the big man roster needs to happen soon, so that the team can gain experience in a consistent lineup.
Whether he’s strengthening the defence or charging through the forward 50 on a lead, Sam Day is vital to the future and ultimate premiership aspirations of this young Gold Coast team. His physicality and attack on the ball makes him a dangerous opponent, and in conjunction with the blistering speed of the midfield, Day will cause headaches for coaches Australia wide. Sam Day is the missing link, and if he starts to fire the rest of the league better watch out.