The Suns have struggled but Tony Cochrane is optimistic about the future.
The Suns have struggled but Tony Cochrane is optimistic about the future.

Suns boss hits back at Hawks insult

GOLD Coast chairman Tony Cochrane has lashed out at Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett for describing the situation at the Suns as a "tragedy".

The expansion club is yet to make the finals in its eight years in the competition and suffered a further blow at the end of 2018 when it lost co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May, who exercised their right to move as free agents.

Lynch has gone to Richmond and key defender May will be at Melbourne next year, heaping further pressure on a young list that came 17th this season after losing superstar Gary Ablett to Geelong at the end of 2017.

"There is no doubt that free agency has contributed to the Gold Coast's annus horribilis," Kennett said.

Cochrane slammed Kennett for saying the Suns were dealing with a "tragedy", arguing it was a "completely inappropriate" assessment.

"I don't know what his angle is and I quite frankly don't understand his position at all," Cochrane said.

"I have to say, I think it's wrong for any club president to be having a cheap shot at any other club.

"I don't believe it's the right place for any club president to be having a go at another club, so I think it was really poor form."

The Suns are yet to taste finals football.
The Suns are yet to taste finals football.

Cochrane reflected on Hawthorn's struggles when it first entered the league, claiming it won just 23 games in its first 10 years, and took aim at Kennett for having a selective memory.

He also took exception to Kennett's belief the poor performances of the players was the result of a drip-down effect from poor leadership at the top.

"It only strikes a chord because I don't think it helps the AFL industry when one club is having a go at another club - I think the tragedy is his comments," Cochrane said.

"I think most fans out there, even Hawthorn fans, would say that's completely inappropriate and out of place.

"He had a go at our board. I'd suggest if you held a gun to his head and made him write down names of at least two of my board members who he's met, he wouldn't be able to put down two names."

In the first round of the draft on Thursday night Gold Coast snared South Australian duo Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine and Victorian tall Ben King inside the top six.

With live pick trading in effect for the first time, speculation was rife Adelaide and Port Adelaide would launch late bids to keep one or both of the talented youngsters in South Australia, but no exchange eventuated.