Suns’ AFL chief Evans defends coach Eade

Gold Coast chief Mark Evans has leapt to the defence of besieged coach Rodney Eade, dismissing speculation about his future as “ridiculous”.

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Third-year coach Eade has copped heavy criticism after the Suns’ dreadful start to the AFL season, including an upset loss to Brisbane and a 102-point drubbing by Greater Western Sydney.

Adding to the expansion club’s problems, dual Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett has been in underwhelming form after being denied an off-season trade home to Geelong.

The Suns finished 16th in Eade’s first year in charge in 2015 and 15th last season, and there is growing speculation he will not last the year if they continue to struggle.

But Evans, who served as the AFL’s football operations boss before replacing Andrew Travis as the Suns’ chief executive in February, on Monday rubbished questions about Eade’s future.

“We deserve to be in the spotlight. It certainly wasn’t a good performance,” he told SEN radio.

“What I won’t buy into – how ridiculous at round two – (is) calling into question things about a coach’s future.

“That’s just not a relevant conversation for me. My only conversation wtih ‘Rocket’ has been ‘where do you think we’re at? What do you think we need to do this week? Is there anything you need from us and how can we help?'”

The Suns were forced to deny that Evans had been parachuted into the chief executive role because of the AFL’s concerns about their performance on and off the field.

Many of their best players have departed, former coach Guy McKenna was sacked and in six seasons, the Suns have never finished better than 12th on the ladder despite being gifted a wealth of priority draft picks.

Evans said he had faith that the Suns could turn around their performance but admitted they needed to improve their intensity and effort.

“I’ve seen eight quarters of footy,” he said.

“There’s been some disappointment in probably five of those quarters. My mind hasn’t changed yet as to the scope of the possibilities of the place.”