Following on from last year’s highly successful Commonwealth Games partnership, Griffith’s ongoing commitment to the Gold Coast is further enhanced with the announcement of an exciting new relationship between the university and the Suns’ AFL and AFLW teams.

The partnership, which sees Griffith become the Official Research and Education Partner for the Gold Coast SUNS, has been made on the eve of the club’s final fixture for the 2019 season.

Proudly becoming the first tertiary education partner of the SUNS since it entered the AFL in 2011, the two year, whole of university alignment will be multifaceted with valuable benefits for Griffith, the football club and Gold Coast community.

Key Benefits

Key among the partnership is the offering of internships for Griffith students within the Suns football operation encompassing marketing, human resources, finance, sport and event management, as well as exercise science and high performance.

There will also be key research opportunities as Griffith academics begin collaborating with the Suns. The University’s groups – Business, Science, Health and AEL will benefit from working alongside the many varied aspects of the club’s football and management systems.

GC Suns CEO Mark Evans joined Griffith Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Carolyn Evans along with some key Suns AFL and AFLW players to make the official announcement at the Gold Coast campus.

Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans and Gold Coast Suns CEO Mark Evans

“To be able to join forces with a Gold Coast institution to help drive our club, and specifically its football and community programs forward, is really exciting,” CEO Mark Evans said.

“Partnering with Griffith University will not only improve our staff and players, but provide their students with opportunities to learn and develop amongst a professional environment.

“It was impressive to see Griffith University’s community minded approach during the 2018 Commonwealth Games and we look forward to working with them to continue to help deliver great community outcomes for the Gold Coast.”

Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans says Griffith is proud to become the Official Research and Education Partner of the Gold Coast Suns, covering both the Men’s (AFL) and the new Women’s team (ALFW) commencing in 2020.

“Our relationship will provide benefits for our students with internship opportunities as well as key research collaborations between Griffith’s academic staff and the Suns.

“The partnership will further cement Griffith’s commitment as part of the Gold Coast community fabric, offering a range of education and training initiatives promoting greater inclusiveness and improved health and wellbeing outcomes”.

Research Opportunities

Associate Professor Clare Minahan, a leading sports physiology and performance expert, says the partnership will benefit the Suns and Griffith in the advancing field of sports science.

“Joint projects will give our researchers the opportunity to work with an elite sports team and contribute to real-world advances in the sports industry.

“It will also enable the men’s and women’s’ teams to access our sport science expertise to help them improve their on-field performance and develop their skills, fitness and best practice,” Associate Professor Minahan said.

Both GC Suns and Griffith University stakeholders will have access to achieve remarkable things across a number of different, research, sports science, internship and community initiatives.

The Suns will also have access to Griffith’s world class sporting facilities including a state-of-the-art athletics track and Olympic sized swimming pool.

The Suns have worked closely with Griffith University since the side’s inception, and currently have 21 AFL players and two AFLW Players enrolled in various education programs. All are part of Griffith Sports College’s Elite Athlete Program, the number 1 rated program of its kind in Australia.

Touk Miller (BComm), Jack Bowes (BExercise Science), Peter Wright (BBusiness) and Brayden Fiorini (BBusiness) are some of the AFL Suns who are in Griffith Sports College (GSC) while current AFLW squad members, Charlotte Hammans (BBusiness) and Tori Groves-Little (BCriminology) are students enrolled in the program.


(L-R) Associate Professor Clare Minahan, VC and President Professor Carolyn Evans, Suns CEO Mark Evans and PVC (Health) Professor Sheena Reilly