TOLL: Sean Lemmens says injuries to several Gold Coast Suns have opened the door to the young brigade in 2016.
TOLL: Sean Lemmens says injuries to several Gold Coast Suns have opened the door to the young brigade in 2016. TONY MCDONOUGH

Suns making hay after the midyear clouds lift

AFL: The Gold Coast Suns started the year in a blaze of glory, winning three matches on end.

And while the fire may have gone out for a club-record 10 weeks mid-season, the Suns are determined to keep the re-gathered fire in their belly heading into the summer with a rare strong finish.

Gold Coast has faded to win just two of its last nine games the past two seasons, and three of nine the previous two.

However, the Suns are well and truly on track to better those marks in 2016. Four victories look a definite, five probable, six a chance.

Having recovered from that losing streak with a resounding 40-point win over St Kilda in round 15, the Suns backed it up with a 26-point victory over the Lions in the Q-Clash.

They lowered their colours to the Bulldogs the next round, but have responded with a 24-point win over Fremantle and tight losses to Melbourne (two points) and GWS (eight) - arguably their best performance.

This all, of course, without the services of their entire first-choice midfield, including Gary Ablett, Dion Prestia, Michael Rischitelli, David Swallow and Jaeger O'Meara.

"We feel we've been really competitive, and that's all you can ask for,” rebounding halfback Sean Lemmens told Australian Regional Media.

"We are putting in 100% effort, 100% of the time.

"Times like this open up a lot of opportunities for players.

"Everyone has taken ownership, which is great.

"The mood has been really good around the club, really positive.

"Just having that camaraderie among the boys, on-field you can really feel it.”

Lemmens, who gathered 14 disposals across halfback last week, said the playing group has been heeding the message from the coaching staff, headed by Rodney Eade to "have faith in what we're doing”.

"Our game plan is there for a reason,” Lemmens said.

"It showed the last couple of games that it is working.

"We have been really diligent with it all. We've just got to finish off the year really strong.”

That finish will start with travelling to play last-placed Essendon at Docklands tomorrow.

The Suns should win their first game at the venue for two years. The now-embattled Bombers have won all three of their encounters there by margins of 19, 43 and 139 points.

"We'll go through what we need to do to beat Essendon, looking at their key players and things like that,” Lemmens said.

"We just go into every game the same, play as hard as we can, stick to our structures and our game plan and the rest will take care of itself.”

The Suns will return to Docklands next week to play Collingwood, before a final-round home match against Port Adelaide.

Adam Saad and Aaron Hall come back into the side this week, but spearhead Tom Lynch will be the visitors' trump in his 100th game. He has 61 goals this season, to trail only West Coast's Josh Kennedy (67) in the Coleman Medal race, and could collect a bag tomorrow against an undermanned Bombers defence.

"He's been amazing,” 48-gamer Lemmens said of his vice-captain.

Essendon skipper Brendon Goddard (groin) is among the "outs” for the hosts.

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