Sport

Rocket can't take a trick with Gold Coast Suns

Rodney Eade may only have six games left in charge of the Suns.
Rodney Eade may only have six games left in charge of the Suns. TRACEY NEARMY

SO IS that it for Rodney Eade, or does the veteran coach deserve one last chance to make the Gold Coast a success in 2018?

Out of contract at season's end, he's had three years to get the Suns right after replacing the ousted Guy McKenna at the end of 2014.

As I've said before, he would have been rubbing his hands together at the prospect of taking one of these northern outposts all the way to the promised land, such was the talent on its list.

After going so close to premiership at glory, but being ultimately denied, at Sydney and then the Western Bulldogs, this was going to be third-time lucky.

He has, after all, coached more games than anyone in VFL-AFL history without a flag.

Instead, Eade has been left shaking his head, almost on a weekly basis, with setback after setback derailing plans time and time again.

No club has endured such a wretched run with injury in the past three seasons.

And because of that, you have to wonder if 'Rocket' deserves at least a one-year extension - and hopefully a clear run at it.

 

Eade talks to his troops during one of their two wins over Hawthorn.
Eade talks to his troops during one of their two wins over Hawthorn. JULIAN SMITH

It appears unlikely. This is coaching at the highest level, and there's very few more cut-throat positions.

But, metaphorically speaking, he's been hamstrung three years in a row, and not just a slight strain, it's been ripped off the bone.

I love a good stat, but these don't make for great reading if you're a Suns fan.

Remember he got 20 games out of a possible 88 from his (then) first-choice midfield of Gary Ablett, Jaeger O'Meara, David Swallow and Dion Prestia in 2015.

That was on top of the off-field turmoil revolving around Harley Bennell and his drug use that engulfed the club

He then got absolutely nothing out of O'Meara and Swallow last year, while Michael Rischitelli went down with a knee injury, and only just returned to senior action on Saturday.

Swans premiership player Nick Malceski had signed a three-year deal (for 2015-17), but cut short his time after two.

The hits have kept coming in 2017 with big man Sam Day down for the season before it even began, and Trent McKeznie so far restricted to two appearances.

Then there's been the fate of their star recruits. Michael Barlow did his knee a month ago, and Pearce Hanley's has had to deal with the death of his brother, as well as hand and hamstring complaints.

 

Jarryd Lyons in action against Collingwood before becoming the latest Sun to be sidelined.
Jarryd Lyons in action against Collingwood before becoming the latest Sun to be sidelined. DAN PELED

Now Jarryd Lyons has copped bone bruising to his ankle just as he was beginning to make a huge impact after crossing from Adelaide, and co-captain and heart and soul player Steven May have suffered hamstring strain.

That pair avoids injury on Saturday, and the Suns could very well have avoided defeat to Collingwood.

Instead they slip to 15th at 6-10, and needing to win every game to have any hope making finals for the first time.

"I can be diplomatic and say it's no excuse, but it has an affect," Eade said post-match as his record from 60 games in charge went to 16-44.

And that's the stat that matters most.

Topics:  afl gold coast suns rodney eade sportopinion

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