The plethora of young talent that has arrived at the Suns since their debut in 2011 has been incredible. Midfield guns, speedy wingers, key position monsters and players with an x-factor you just can’t teach. However, one position that has been lacking and could solidify their finals potential is a defensive general. That spot has now been filled with the recruitment of former Swans defender Nick Malceski.
After a stellar premiership career at Sydney, he decided to take part in the free agency period, moving north to the Gold Coast as he enters the twilight of his career. A focused defender who gets tremendous numbers and launches attacking plays, Malceski is an excellent pick up for a young side screaming out for a touch of class in the back line.
Despite turning 30 last August, Malceski is still a tremendous player, averaging 23 disposals and gaining selection in the 2014 All-Australian team. His ability to extract from defence and transition into a dangerous quarterback was fostered through the Sydney attitude and culture, which he will hopefully bring with him to a relatively young defence at the Suns.
One man who will benefit the most from Malceski’s arrival is long-kicking defender Kade Kolodjashnij. Coming off a very impressive debut season, Kolodjashnij will relish the chance to play alongside a player who is very similar in the way he attacks the ball and releases from defence.
Jarrod Harbrow has been the most experienced defender in recent times for the Suns and with another old hand in the mix, it will take some of the pressure off him which could see his pace and line-breaking ability improve. The young key defenders including Rory Thompson and Steven May will also benefit quite substantially from having such a battle-hardened player in their ranks.
The Gold Coast’s free agency history before Malceski’s move was almost non-existent with former Hawk Tom Murphy the only other selection they have made since 2012. However the addition of the bearded Swans champion could be the most successful free agent move so far. Lance Franklin may have a higher profile, but the impact that Malceski could have on this young Suns outfit may be much more positive and influential.
Nick Malceski is the type of defensive leader the Suns have lacked in recent years and his finals experience will come in handy if the team make their finals debut in 2015. He may only have a couple of years left but Malceski can be the perfect transition player while some of the younger defenders find their feet and mature into their own defensive skill set. The missing link that is Nick Malceski could be the difference between leaving September without anything and a potential finals victory.