Outside of Victoria, the success of the Giants and Swans notwithstanding, it can be tough for AFL franchises to gain the support of the populace, support that is critical for clubs to retain top talent and not have players fleeing to Melbourne at the first opportunity.
South Australia might be the possible exception, and the Western Australia sides have at times proven worthy, so on reflection, we should limit our blanket statement to Queensland, where to many, AFL footy is some strange aberration of rugby.
Gold Coast, home to the Suns, is one of two in the state of Queensland that knows the lure of the south.
The Suns must show remarkable improvement in 2018 if the club is to have any hopes of keeping Tom Lynch in the fold.
Players are by their nature competitive and for a relatively young player such as Lynch, winning would seem to take precedence over money when it comes to where he plays.
In 121 games with the Suns, Lynch has taken part in just 34 victories. That figure has to be tough on the psyche.
Lynch as yet to sign for a new stint with the Suns and it is hard to say what would tip him in the Suns’ direction. A long-term deal might seem the way to go, but it is obvious that Lynch can obtain job security anywhere. A two-year deal might seem viable, but at what price?
Lynch can get similar money from one of the big city clubs with the added bonus of playing for a flag contender. If Geelong has a good season, as expected, Lynch might be eager to follow in the footsteps of Gary Ablett.
For the Suns, the reality is apparent. They have to convince Lynch that the future is bright and even though they have the chance to match rival offers due to Lynch’s status as a restricted agent, there is nothing to prevent a rival club from offering Lynch a sum that is simply beyond the Suns’ means.