Contributed by: Wesley Hull Saturday, August 21 2021 @ 05:58 pm ACST
It was certainly a bittersweet day at the Gold Coast Suns today. Trounced by 87 points by a rampant Sydney Swans, the club had no choice but to wear the defeat and then put 2021 behind them – reset for 2022.
Part of that reset was a changing of the guard as old made way for new. On the same day as youngsters in Joel Jeffrey, Jeremy Sharp and Jy Farrar strutted their stuff in their first seasons, Zac Smith said farewell.
But of major importance for north Queenslanders, it was the day that Jarrod Harbrow retired after 262 games for the Suns and the Western Bulldogs. The former Cairns junior – playing for both the Manunda Hawks and South Cairns Cutters – went on to have an illustrious career as a hard-running, courageous defender from 2007 to 2021; 15 seasons at the highest level. Along the way he was a Suns’ club champion and holds club records for most possessions and most wins.
Picture Credit: afl.com
It is somehow fitting, then, that the Cairns product could be on the field today to be a teammate of a new potential star, Alex Davies, who debuted. Probably not a Rising Star performance, but Davies immediately made an impact with 16 possessions and six crunching tackles on debut and a couple of behinds from shots at goal. A former basketball star at junior level, Davies was a part of the Cairns Taipans basketball academy before turning to Aussie Rules for his chosen sporting career.
Davies had been on the AFL radar for a long time. A highly skilled junior, with a big body to match, Davies also hailed from Manunda Hawks in Cairns, adding to the symmetry of playing alongside Harbrow. His ability to catch fire and take a game by the scruff of the neck, other scouts from down south had reported back to their clubs before he was selected for the Gold Coast Suns Academy. He headed down to the Gold Coast to play with the Broadbeach Cats on his way to a pre-draft selection in 2020 along with Territorian Joel Jeffrey.
A bright future shines for Davies as he grabs the baton handed to him by Jarrod Harbrow as they keep Cairns in the AFL eye. With teammates Jack Bowes and Caleb Graham both Cairns products, as is Charlie Dixon who terrorises defenders each week for Port Adelaide Power, this group will take the football virtues of the Far North Queensland city into a new decade.
Davies follows a proud line of recent Cairns players such as Courtenay Dempsey (Essendon), Sam Michael (Brisbane & Essendon), Jacob Heron (Gold Coast) and more.
However, it was certainly fitting that Harbrow shared his retirement game with Davies’ debut, especially for the AFL-loving Cairns community.