Home is where Suma’s heart is
Peter Sumich was speaking from the heart when he said he had always been a Freo boy.
While his spiritual AFL home will always be West Coast, where he played in two premierships and helped to coach another, going back to where it all began will do him no harm.
Suma was recruited from South Fremantle after cutting his teeth with Cockburn. He coached the Bulldogs in his own right in 2000 and 2001, guiding them into the ’01 WAFL Grand Final.
As one of the competition’s elite full-forwards, Suma kicked 514 goals in 150 games for the Eagles from 1989 to 1997.
He was a very good player in a great team during the 1990s with his marking on the lead a feature.
As a coach and assistant to his mate John Worsfold, he has always been honest and open with players. He has been able to earn their trust and respect by his actions. He is approachable and empowers others by giving clear direction.
Given those highly sought-after attributes, I am surprised Suma has not been able to secure a senior coaching role at another club, although he went very close at Essendon when the Bombers appointed Matthew Knights.
Maybe he sees this as an opportunity to learn from another highly respected senior coach in Ross Lyon, adding another string to his bow.
Fremantle has tried for years to get Suma back and now they have got their man.
* DRAFT TARGETS: The Dockers need height in the AFL National Draft (November 24) and will be targeting exactly that when Trade Week starts tomorrow.
Specifically, they will be after players 192cm to 198cm who can play key position and create more pressure in those spots.
Luke McPharlin, Antoni Grover, Matthew Pavlich and Aaron Sandilands are in the twilight of their careers and have done an outstanding job, but if the Dockers are to remain a force they need to get players to fill their roles now and develop them swiftly.
The Dockers have recognised the shortfall and have gone for mature-age defenders in Alex Silvagni and Peter Faulks in the past couple of seasons, but neither of them have the height the Dockers need.
Fremantle also need another genuine crumbing forward. Many players have been swung forward with limited success. Hayden Ballantyne has been the only small to regularly look dangerous inside the attacking 50. Fremantle must find more avenues to goal.
West Coast needs more midfield depth with Daniel Kerr, Andrew Embley, Adam Selwood and Dean Cox all premiership players nearing the end. Andrew Gaff showed us in his first season what class can do and the Eagles need more like him and Luke Shuey to take them into the future.
Key big men should also be on the Eagles’ radar. Mitch Brown has become unreliable through injury, Quinten Lynch is ageing and Callum Wilson is an average player. Jack Darling highlighted that this season.
Both Fremantle and West Coast could do with Brisbane’s Mitch Clark.
He is a proven player and wants to head west. He would have to be worth a first-round pick. It is whether the WA clubs are prepared to give up their prized possessions.