John Harms believes the Suns are finals bound. Image courtesy of news.com.au/Adam Head/Gold Coast Bulletin
AFL Round 9 - Harmsy's Handle
Not hard to believe I know, but the only shares I own are in TattsBet. To explain: when The Handicapper and I got married (I remember the day well: it was the day Sunline won the Doncaster) a few of my mates, who, if they were up for a game of golf, knew I could be found in my Toowong office (Marie’s Trans-Australian Bank), put their hard-earned together and bought us a bundle of shares in (then) UniTAB. To be more accurate, they bought me the UniTAB shares, because The Handicapper refused to have her name put on the register.
This was a genius present for a number of reasons. It gave me a purpose: I felt a responsibility to invest in the welfare of my own portfolio, which meant really, I couldn’t lose. This logic didn’t go down well at the breakfast table.
It was also genius from Rol, Bimbo, Spoiler and co because there was a strong sense of home associated with it. They knew that I felt strongly connected to my native Queensland, and to South Australia, where my parents had moved in the early 1980s. UniTAB seemed to be taking my lead, acquiring the Queensland TAB and then the South Australian TAB.
Being a Citizen of the World - not uncommon for a boy from Oakey (legendary race-caller Vince Curry was from Oakey) – I was less suspicious of the south, than most Queenslanders, and did not share the contempt that all Knuckles-loving, Fritz-eating, iced-coffee drinking Crow-Eaters have for Victorians.
So, even though I understand that most Queenslanders still see no real need to venture too far past the Currumbin Surf Club (and why would you), I’m going to make a couple of big statements, risky in the extreme, and likely to see my already-tattered reputation ripped to shreds.
Statement 1: Melbourne’s weather is not too bad. No, seriously, hear me out. I’ve been incarcerated here for a decade and I’d have to say Melbourne’s weather gets bad press. It was 23 degrees here yesterday. And the sun is shining today. Sure, Melbourne has some pretty dull, cold, drizzly months – but only a couple, and why wouldn’t you spend some time in front of the fire in complete control of the remote with all codes of the footer on, Wimbledon on, the British Open on, anything on. Consistent inclemency is also great for studying the form. And you live with the promise of Spring and warmth and rebirth and footy finals.
Statement 2: the Gold Coast Suns will play finals this season. They are $1.90 to make the eight at the moment, which looks to be very, very good shopping. Here are some reasons why they’ll be involved come September.
Firstly, they are currently in the eight. In fact, they are fifth, and would be second, if they had the percentage. Being in the eight matters. It used to matter a lot after Round 7. I reckon that has drifted out to about Round 9 or 10 in the expanded competition. There are usually only one or two changes to the eight after May, even with the compromised draw.
Secondly, they are two games clear of ninth, and the three threatening clubs - Essendon (officially no good), West Coast (arguably no good) and Adelaide (who might be a danger) – aren’t hugely threatening.
Thirdly, the Suns are on the right side of the compromise insofar as the draw is concerned. They play the Bulldogs at home this Sunday, and they play them again later in the season, as well as meeting Brisbane, Carlton and St Kilda. They have a few games where they can really find out how they’re going, Adelaide away in a fortnight, Sydney at home (a real litmus test), and later Geelong and Collingwood at home. They will be scaring Geelong and Collingwood (the Pies will remember their shock from last year).
And why? Because they are a really good footy team. The big blokes are coming on. Thompson is super-reliable, Day is coordinated, Dixon can snatch it, and Tom Lynch can find a goal. The mid-field is polished: David Swallow (all class), O’Meara (all class), and Rischitelli (rock solid). They have some buzzing little creators in Bennell, “Wally” Matera and Hall. And, to top it off, they have G. Ablett. He is at the height of his powers. The ball comes sweetly from his boot. He evades in that way that makes your leg move involuntarily on the couch. He creates. (An injury to him – Heaven forbid – would test the side out). He is magnificent. He will lead them into the finals.
Like Port, the Suns are good to watch, and promise to offer a lot to those who are at Metricon.
So, if the prospect of the winter’s passage is getting you down, jump onto the cheap flights site and book a ticket to the Carrara warmth.
And pay for it by having something on the Suns to make the eight.
John Harms is editor of footyalmanac.com.au