2023 Defence Ratings: Gold Coast Suns
Points Against (Brennan Jakovich Shield): 1820 - 12th
Inside 50's Against Per Goal: 4.33 - 11th
Scarlett Silvagni Medal Votes: 43 - 10th
Keys: Mac Andrew, Charlie Ballard, Sandy Brock, Sam Collins, Caleb Graham, Jake Stein
General: Connor Budarick, Charlie Constable, Jy Farrar, Lloyd Johnston, Sean Lemmens, Ben Long, Will Powell, Bohdi Uwland, Lachie Weller, Jack Lukosius
In: Lloyd Johnston, Ben Long, Jake Stein
Out: Jack Bowes (Geelong), Jez McLennan (delisted), Oleg Markov (delisted), Rhys Nicolls (delisted), Rory Thompson (retired)
Ah, the Gold Coast Suns.
The team The AFL have treated much like an unknowingly toxic parent would spoil a child, granting gifts and rewards without ever actually giving them the help they need.
A team that has always promised so much and delivered so little. Not since the 2014 season when Gary Ablett's shoulder derailed the Suns' season have they looked so much like making finals for so much of the year before missing out, again finishing 12th in 2022 much like 2014.
While the Suns didn't spend much of the year inside the top 8, they navigated a tough first half of the season, before blowing late games against Port Adelaide, Collingwood, Essendon and Hawthorn that they would have been expected to win or were in winning positions in.
The Suns' backline is stacked with talent, not least of all their vice-captain in Sam Collins, who looked like he was going to storm away with the Scarlett Silvagni Medal in the first half of the season.
Supporting roles Charlie Ballard and Caleb Graham had career-best seasons, and players like Connor Budarick and Jack Lukosius can only be expected to improve again in 2023.
But it's a story we've seen before with The Suns, a year of promise followed by years of disappointment. The recruiting of Ben Long gives them some depth all around the ground, and Mac Andrew looked promising late last year.
The backline could blame the midfielders for the ease with which other teams were able to attack the goals in 2022, but they could also go some way to prevent the brain fades that saw forwards get loose too easily at points in 2022.
Sam Collins is the unofficial poster boy of The Back Pocket, so we obviously want the best for The Suns in 2023, and expect another strong finish in the Scarlett Silvagni medal to back up his top-five finish in 2022.
Back Pocket Rating: C