Chris Burgess fights Port’s Dougal Howard for the ball while playing for West Adelaide. Picture: Calum Robertson
Chris Burgess fights Port’s Dougal Howard for the ball while playing for West Adelaide. Picture: Calum Robertson

Mature-age recruit set on Suns

THE Gold Coast has become one of the AFL's less desirable locations - unless you're Chris Burgess.

While the club has been known more for its departures than arrivals in recent years, the mature-age pick from West Adelaide says he cannot wait to get stuck in playing footy at the Suns.

"I'm really excited to move up and just start pre-season, I don't want to wait around I want to get right into it," Burgess said.

The utility with impressive aerial ability caught the eye of recruiters with the Bloods this season and Gold Coast pounced to take Burgess as one of its three mature-age pre draft selections.

The 22-year-old was set to test at the state draft combine on Saturday but will now pack his bags and head for Queensland.

"Not having to sit there on draft night nervously waiting to see if my name is called is a bit of a relief," Burgess said.

"But I'm a bit disappointed about the combine actually. I was excited to go and test myself against everyone else and see where I ranked with the other draftees."

Burgess debuted for West in 2016 and went on to play 47 SANFL games.

Former West Adelaide coach Mark Mickan with Burgess before he was selected by the Suns. Picture: Tom Huntley
Former West Adelaide coach Mark Mickan with Burgess before he was selected by the Suns. Picture: Tom Huntley

But prior to that he played for Flinders Park in the Adelaide Footy League after being cut from Woodville-West Torrens at age 14.

Mark Mickan, his coach for the first two seasons at the Bloods, described Burgess' story as one of the best in his time in footy.

Burgess said hard work and rising confidence is behind his improvement from amateur to AFL.

"My confidence in my footy ability has been growing over the past couple of years," he said.

"I started just going for it a bit more in games, backing myself in and it's paying off."

Burgess is one of two mature-age picks confirmed by the Suns, who also selected Weribee forward Josh Corbett.

The pair will join the Suns in what is set to be a season of transition under second-year coach Stuart Dew.

The club's captain Tom Lynch this month joined a list of Gold Coast players to head for the exit door when he moved to Richmond as a free agent.

Aaron Hall also left for North Melbourne and former pick seven Jack Scrimshaw has joined Hawthorn.

But the Suns have brought in opportunity-starved Geelong midfielder and SA product George Horlin-Smith as well as Richmond pair Anthony Miles and Corey Ellis.