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Jeffrey ready to make his mark under new Gold Coast coach

Jackson Clark -

Gold Coast Suns utility Joel Jeffrey is excited about the changes that new coach Damien Hardwick is making to the club.

The 21-year-old is entering his fourth year at the Suns and says that the triple-premiership winning coach from Richmond has brought a new 'system' to the team.

"He has brought a different kind of energy to the club and the boys are loving it, they are up and about," Jeffrey said on SEN's Fridays in the Top End.

Hardwick signed a six-year deal with the Suns after a successful 14-year tenure at Richmond.

Jeffrey indicated that the new game style could be reminiscent of the way the Tigers played throughout their recent premiership winning years.

"Once we have caused the turnover, we're going quick to catch the opposition off guard," he said.

"That's what he has brought and the boys have been adjusting to it well – I am sure we're going to go very well this year."

After an impressive junior career in the Northern Territory for Palmerston and Wanderers, Jeffrey joined the Suns via their academy access to Darwin-based players.

He produced a string of impressive performances at VFL level in his first year at the club, including a nine-goal haul against Aspley, which led to his AFL debut against Melbourne the following week.

Joel Jeffrey celebrates one of his five goals against the Western Bulldogs in 2022. (Image: AFL Photos)

The following year, in his sixth AFL appearance, Jeffery earned a Rising Star nomination after a breakout five-goal performance against the Western Bulldogs in Tasmania.

Jeffrey featured in seven AFL games last year, bringing his career tally to 16 across three seasons.

He has recently shifted into a new role in the backline, a position where he believes he can produce his best footy.

"I reckon I can show what I can do with the football around the ground more, either with my kicking or taking the game on," he said.

"I've been focussing on my speed – obviously playing half back now – that's where we want to cause the turnover.

"I feel like my body is pulling up a lot better this year compared to last year, so I am adjusting to it well."

Jeffrey was one of the Suns' better performers in the VFL premiership win last year, gathering 21 disposals and six marks in the win over Werribee.

In November, the club announced that the Kukatj and Wulwulam man had signed a four-year contract extension that will see him remain at the club until at least the end of the 2028 season.

"I felt comfortable signing the deal – it's a good place to live and we've got a good core NT group," he said.

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