Friday, November 10, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
The Gold Coast Suns touched down to a welcoming party at Mackay Airport on the 2nd of November to battle it out against the Essendon Bombers in Round 10 of the AFLW, with the Friday night showdown played at the Great Barrier Reef Arena.
Four players from the Gold Coast Suns are local to our region, including star ruck, Lauren Bella.
Lauren commented on the opportunity, “I look at it really fondly, so grateful for the opportunity to be able to play in front of my family and friends.
“I think it’s also really important to bring football to rural towns. We’ve always had a good crowd come out to support us.”
Head Coach Cameron Joyce stated, “We’re trying to keep our preparation very much the same as previous weeks, if we focus too much on the outcome and what may happen, we’ll lose focus on how we play the game.”
“Every time we play I think we get a bit of a competitive advantage on the opposition.
“In terms of the region, being able to rub shoulders with the community, kids coming down to watch the girls train will only help [with] girls’ participation playing AFL in the region.”
The Suns recorded a 14-point victory in Mackay on Friday night at the Great Barrier Reef Arena, with the final score 6.3 (39) to 2.7 (25).
1,700 ecstatic local spectators filled the stands. With Brisbane’s Gabba stadium set to be demolished and replaced, Mackay has the opportunity to welcome more national and international sporting events than ever before, furthering a boost to tourism in our region.
Chief Executive Officer of Mackay Isaac Tourism, Al Grundy welcomed the Gold Coast Suns, commenting on their arrival, “Any huge event such as the AFLW and the Gold Coast Suns arriving in our region is something that we really look forward to.
“From a tourism and development perspective, huge names coming to the region showcase what Mackay can do, showcases that we are absolutely on point when it comes to events. Most importantly, it puts our ‘Mackay-Isaac’ brand out there across Australia.”
With the tourism industry on a growth target towards the 2032 Olympic Games, our region is set to accomplish $860 million in 2023 for overnight visitors expenditure.
Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson was also happy to welcome the Gold Coast Suns, stating, “This is the third consecutive season the Gold Coast Suns have been here to kick off a match in Mackay, and we’re really pleased to see them back.
“Mackay Regional Council has invested in this pathway program for our young people, the relationship the AFLW has with our region right now is second-to-none.”
Bess Keaney, Al Grundy, Tara Bohanna, Claudia Whitfort, Lauren Bella, Greg Williamson and Jacqui Dupuy in front of the welcoming archway at Mackay Airport
Photo credit: Sinead Porter
The Gold Coast Suns celebrated a 39-25 victory over Essendon at the Great Barrier Reef Arena last week. Photo credit: Gold Coast Suns