David Swallow leads the Suns off after losing to the Bulldogs.
David Swallow leads the Suns off after losing to the Bulldogs.

Gold Coast Suns pick up ex-Cats fitness guru

GOLD Coast have made mid-season changes to their football department, recruiting former Geelong high performance manager Michael Poulton and securing AFL approval for Pearce Hanley to have a match day coaching role.

Poulton's appearance in Suns uniform at the huddle on the ground during the nine-point loss to the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat on Saturday took many by surprise.

There had been no announcement made about his recruitment and Suns media staff had no answers when questioned on his role.

Football manager John Haines confirmed Poulton had been engaged on a part-time basis to help create new personal development programs for staff and players.

He was involved in the development of the AFL's Level 4 coaching course and will work particularly closely with the coaches.

Under CEO Mark Evans and Haines the Suns have increased their emphasis on human resource activities.

 

Gold Coast Suns CEO Mark Evans and chairman Tony Cochrane.
Gold Coast Suns CEO Mark Evans and chairman Tony Cochrane.

 

"Mick is doing a short term project around professional development for our staff,'' Haines said.

"He will design the program that we will follow to help develop our people further.

"We are trying to make our PD part of what we do, not over and above stuff at the end of season, but things we can include in the week-to-week, month-to-month that will help our people.''

Poulton left his role as elite performance and development manager at Geelong after six months in March.

He previously worked with Evans when Evans was the AFL's football operations boss and Poulton was the league's competition and stakeholder manager.

Hanley was placed on the long-term injury list which allowed the club to apply to the AFL to accredit him as a coach.

He was bench coach in Ballarat on Saturday.

That job had been previously held by Haines, who returned to the coaches' box against the Bulldogs.

 

Pearce Hanley on the Gold Coast bench after being injured.
Pearce Hanley on the Gold Coast bench after being injured.

 

"His aspiration post-career is potentially to get into coaching, he has expressed a strong interest in that,'' he said.

"So during the rehab period we sought permission for him to be on the bench to provide feedback to the players.

"The AFL were supportive and were happy to keep Pearce engaged while he was undergoing his rehabilitation and to also give him some insights into match day from a coaches' perspective.''

Haines, in his first year at the club, said he had spent the first six weeks on the bench getting a feel for how the players received feedback and would now spend time in the box watching how the coaches went about their business.

Hanley is expected to continue the bench coach role for the duration of his recovery from shoulder surgery which is expected to be between eight and ten weeks.



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