The sun will never set on Gold Coast, says McLachlan

The Gold Coast Suns will remain in the AFL competition "forever'' and their long-term position is as guaranteed as anything can be, according to AFL boss Gillon McLachlan.

While the viability of the Suns has been questioned on occasion, as the club has struggled to retain players, never made finals in nine seasons and continues to receive the most funding of any club, McLachlan said as far as he was concerned the AFL's 17th club was "as forever (as) it can be.''

Good as gold: Suns fans cheer on their team at Metricon Stadium.Credit:AAP

"Well, they're forever in my mind,'' said the AFL chief executive of the Suns. He said the introduction of the Suns and Greater Western Sydney Giants were generational decisions and that everyone within the AFL backed the long-term view of those clubs.

"At some point, there'll be someone else here and they may have a different view,'' he told The Age. "But these clubs were established with generational decisions and there is not one person in this building who has any intention of, or has a different view to that.

"These are generational decisions. Therefore, for as forever it can be, for as far as forever it can be, without, you know, nothing in this world is guaranteed, but as close to that as I can have.''

McLachlan reiterated that he did not foresee a team in Tasmanian – where the government has made a concerted push via a special taskforce and report – within the next five years.

Committed to the cause: AFL chief Gillon McLachlan.Credit:

The AFL boss would not elaborate on the prospects of Tasmania getting a team by the end of the decade, saying he did not wish to cut across the process that the AFL had started with the Tasmanian government and their taskforce.

He said the AFL was working through the numbers and assumptions in the report of the taskforce – which argued the case for a team with headquarters in Hobart and with games played in both Hobart and Launceston, with the hope for a stadium on the Hobart waterfront.

"On Tasmania, I said at the time we've got commitments in a whole series of areas for five years. I couldn't see it being within five years,'' said McLachlan.

"After that, my position is we have a report from the Tasmanian government and we are working through that with them and with the authors of the report and … I guess (when) we all agree on a baseline, then I'll be engaging with the industry and working through what that report says, as agreed.''

McLachlan didn't say when he felt the AFLW would be financially self-sufficient, though he said that, given the huge growth in participation at grass roots and in bringing people to the game, it was already paying its way. "In a broader business sense, it's been a huge succcess.

"In a direct sense, I don't know (when), but we grow year on year.''

McLachlan pointed out that 16 out of 18 clubs had made a profit last year, having had the third year of record attendances. The AFL has highlighted the increase in close games and in upsets in 2019, with one in three games deemed upsets and average margins down by 11 percent, but the latter also speaks to the reduction in scoring across the AFL, in what has been a prolonged trend.

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