Gold Coast Suns Playing List Allegedly Split Between Drinkers And “God Squad”

The Gold Coast Suns are having a miserable year, on and off the field.

On field, a barrage of injuries to key players – with as many six first-choice midfielders sidelined with indefinite injuries – and general discombobulation has seen the opening half of the year produce a disaster, with just one win from twelve games registered, leaving them (and new coach Rodney Eade) languishing on the bottom of the ladder.
But off field, the dramas are even worse. Former “star” recruit Karmichael Hunt‘s ongoing drug issues and revelations have brought the club under increased scrutiny. And a series of club imposed suspensions on players busted breaking team rules regarding drinking has only compounded their issues.
And it gets worse. There are claims coming through this morning that the playing list is split almost neatly in twain between those who like a drink, and those who observe more religiously-focused issues.
Triple M breakfast host Chris Dittmar made the allegations of the deep rooted divide on his show with co-host Mark Ricciuto earlier this morning.

“They’ve got a major issue at their club. There are two sets of players basically. (It’s divided) right down the middle and they don’t see eye to eye at all.”

“One group is out on the turps and the other group are in bloody bible class. There’s a God squad on one half of the changerooms, they go to bible readings and sit and talk about God. And the other half are at the pub. It’s true.”

On the one hand, religion isn’t exactly frowned upon within Australian sport, but nor is it practiced openly. The Gold Coast, and in particular captain Gary Ablett, have arguably been the most open and vocal about their faith, with members of the Suns regularly seen in change rooms participating in pre-game group prayer rituals.

But on the other, the club’s issues with alcohol are well documented. Despite coach Eade issuing a “no alcohol” imposition on club players during the season, a number of high profile incidents has seen the club issue suspensions to some of their more senior players. This includes the suspension of Harley Bennell, Trent McKenzieBrandon Matera, and Danny Stanley in May, and Charlie Dixon and Jack Martin – who were found to have consumed alcohol the night before a game in a Launceston hotel room also in May. 
Club captain Gary Ablett was a noticeable absentee in the decision making process to ban the players.
The positive news to come out of the club this week is Ablett’s imminent return from a shoulder ailment that’s had him sidelined since round two. Inarguably their best player, Ablett will at least be able to add some much needed ball magnetism to the Suns’ beleaguered game structure.
But whether or not these overarching allegations prove true – and no matter how much the AFL wants to keep any wrong doing by its fledgling, league-funded child as quiet as humanly possible – a house divided against itself absolutely cannot stand.
Photo: Quinn Rooney via Getty Images.