K rock Football

Rowell return no distraction

Gold Coast young gun Daniel Rowell in action against Geelong. (Getty Images/AFL Photos Image/Daniel Pockett)

THERE’S no doubt Gold Coast is excited to unleash Matt Rowell on the AFL in 2021 but Suns coach Stuart Dew has dismissed concerns his team is in danger of becoming a one-man-band.

All eyes are on Rowell as he nears a return to full training following the shoulder injury which ended the teenager’s debut AFL season last year.

Despite making just five appearances in 2020, Rowell was the talk of the league after best-on-ground displays in wins over West Coast, Adelaide and Fremantle.

With the 19-year-old sidelined, the Suns won just two more matches in 2020 and finished 14th, making it 10 AFL seasons without a finals appearance for the club.

Although Rowell is on track to be fit to start 2021, Dew said all his players are aware their fortunes cannot hinge solely on the availability of a five-game player.

“We’ve talked about it. At halftime down in Geelong when he got injured and because of the way he started everyone was aware of that and it’s a good opportunity for others,” Dew said.

“Noah (Anderson) stepped up and really improved across the year and Touk Miller probably had his career-best year as well.

“That’s what we’ve got to work on. We can’t be a one-man team and we’re not. We don’t want to train and build for that either.”

After another campaign which began brightly ended without a maiden finals appearance, Dew said the challenge for his squad in 2021 is obvious but not necessarily easy to attain.

“To be able to go from 18th to 14th was a small step but the next step’s even harder,” he said.

“We’ll put more pressure on internally than what I’m sure we’ll get externally but that’s the nature of the comp.

“It’s very much a preparation phase now and we’ll narrow the focus once we get to the season.”

© AAP 2021