Gold Coast Suns coach Stuart Dew.
Gold Coast Suns coach Stuart Dew.

Suns learn travel lesson, gamble on Wright

GOLD Coast have taken a travel lesson from rivals Port Adelaide in their search for redemption in Shanghai by sending every player to China in business class.

Last year the Suns endured a horror trip wedged into cattle class that included a two-and-half-hour delay stranded on the tarmac at Singapore, while Port Adelaide enjoyed business class courtesy of the club's partnership with Cathay Pacific.

Ruckman Jarrod Witts, key forwards Peter Wright and Tom Lynch and Gary Ablett were among a select few to enjoy upgrades to business class alongside chairman Tony Cochrane.

Witts said before departing he felt it gave him an advantage over his teammates last year and was thrilled the club had struck a deal to ensure every player was in business.

"All the players got business, they are looking after us well, which is great,'' he said.

"I got business class last year, and I know I felt pretty fresh when I walked off the plane.

Jarrod Witts battles Max Gawn at a boundary throw in.
Jarrod Witts battles Max Gawn at a boundary throw in.

"There is definitely a difference in the comfort and it is a factor over such a long trip when you have to get out and train the next day and then play footy, it really helps.''

With Lynch unavailable for selection due to injury and Sam Day suspended, Witts said he wanted to take it upon himself to provide a target when he pushed forward for a rest from his rucking duties.

"I'm sure there will be a greater need to create a contest up forward, with them two out, there will be a bigger responsibility for the rest of us taller players,'' he said.

"We haven't discussed it much with the coaches yet, but it is just something I know I need to do.''

The Suns are gambling on Peter Wright this weekend after he boarded the plane for Shanghai and looms as the likely replacement for Day after just two NEAFL outings following a nine-week calf injury.

Travis Boak gets a kick during last year’s China clash.
Travis Boak gets a kick during last year’s China clash.

Witts said redemption was a motivating force for the players that remain in the team from the shocking 16.14 (110) to 4.14 (38) bloodbath last year, where the Suns only narrowly avoided their lowest-ever score.

The sombre mood on the bus trip to the airport and the following flight has stuck firmly in the memory of everyone who was there.

"We didn't show up and play anywhere near our best last year,'' Witts said.

"I don't think too many blokes have forgotten how poor we were, we need to improve on every aspect of that performance and it starts with having a crack at the contest

"Unfortunately the difference in mood between a win and a loss is fairly great any time you lose, but the way we got blown out last year, it took a long time to shake.''


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