Sam Clohesy and Bailey Humphrey celebrate during Gold Coast's clash against Geelong in round 10, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

JUST 10 games into his stint as Gold Coast coach, Damien Hardwick says he is quickly understanding the challenges of life for clubs outside of Victoria.

The Suns are currently inside the top eight with a 6-4 record and are about to embark on eight interstate trips in their final 13 games, starting with Carlton at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

While the frequency of travel is hard to avoid with more than half the competition based in Victoria, Hardwick said Gold Coast had to fight "hand over fist" for any perceived advantage it gets.

Speaking on Wednesday morning, the triple-premiership coach was critical of suggestions West Australian clubs had nothing to complain about with travel due to an allocation of business class seats each time they crossed the Nullarbor.

"I've played in Victoria, I've played intestate and I've now coached here. We're up against it, there's no question about it," Hardwick said.

"For clubs in Victoria to sit there and say the 12 business class seats help the teams in Perth is a laughable statement. They should be named and shamed. It's downright disrespectful.


"Every advantage we try to get, we fight hand over fist with the AFL to try and get one.

"I'm 10 games in and I'm finding it challenging. 

"Our Perth flights (the Suns play Fremantle in round 15 and West Coast in round 21) are five-and-a-half hours, we get a charter one way (but not both).

"These things Melbourne clubs take for granted, they get great flight times, we don't get that advantage.

"These are the challenges we've got."

Hardwick said Gold Coast's smaller airport restricted the number of flights going in there and precluded it from flying at certain times.

Then there's the Grand Final being played at the MCG – something that was clearly a benefit in his time at Richmond, but not now.

In relation to the northern academies, Hardwick said clubs in New South Wales and Queensland needed "some advantages".

Gold Coast is yet to win away from home in 2024, losing matches to the Western Bulldogs, Greater Western Sydney, Sydney and Brisbane.

"We want to win away," he said.

Damien Hardwick talks to his players during the R9 match between Gold Coast and North Melbourne at TIO Stadium on May 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"Carlton are a side that got a little touch-up against Sydney, so they're going to come out flying.

"They start really, really well, so we've got to make sure we match their intensity, it becomes an arm wrestle from there and then hopefully we can gain some ascendency.

"We know for us to get better, we have to embrace that challenge.

"We need to start winning away."

Defender Mac Andrew trained well on Wednesday and looks likely to overcome a leg injury he suffered against Geelong and take his place against the Blues.