GOLD Coast will get the first two picks at this year's NAB AFL Draft as a result of a significant assistance package dished out to the struggling club by the AFL Executive on Monday.
The club is now poised to snare blue-chip midfield prospects Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson at the draft, who are clearly the best pair of junior talents in the country.
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The Suns will receive draft concessions for the next three years as part of the package, as well as expanded academy player access that will include the entirety of Darwin.
The additional picks will now count as Gold Coast's assets, meaning it will be able to trade the selections as it sees fit across the next three years.
Its three years of draft assistance includes:
- Pick No.1 at the 2019 NAB AFL Draft.
- The first pick of the second round (currently pick No.20) at the 2019 NAB AFL Draft.
- Mid first-round pick (currently pick No.11) at the 2020 NAB AFL Draft.
- The first pick of the second round (currently Pick.19) at the 2021 NAB AFL Draft.
It will also get Darwin as part of its expanded Academy access zone, while it will be able to pre-list players out of that region without the AFL's normal bidding processes.
The final part of its assistance package will be the ability to rookie up to 10 players.
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"There is no doubt the Gold Coast Suns have had enormous challenges throughout their short history and it is to the benefit of the entire competition that the Suns are competitive," the AFL's general counsel Andrew Dillon said in a statement.
"The AFL and football fans want a strong and even competition and while the endeavour and intent can’t be faulted by the Gold Coast Football Club, there have been executional challenges along the journey that have impacted the on-field competitiveness of the team.
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"The club, led by Tony Cochrane and Mark Evans, will continue to build strength in the organisation and delivering on their football strategy is crucial to the club’s long-term success. The special assistance approved by the AFL Commission will contribute to this.
"While the package is set for three years to provide certainty to players, staff and the entire industry, the AFL Commission retains the right to remove future picks and / or academy access based on the club’s performance."