Finals flame still burning for the best expansion side

BY ANY measure, Gold Coast has been the most successful expansion club to date in this year's NAB AFL Women's competition.

Heading into Sunday's do-or-die clash with West Coast at Mineral Resources Park, the Suns have one win and one draw from five matches to still be a mathematical chance of playing finals.

Their three losses have been to Greater Western Sydney (one point), a rampant North Melbourne (13) and last Friday night to Geelong (20), with a poor second half the only blight on their season.

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David Lake's team has pushed everyone.

Reborn defender Jade Pregelj says Gold Coast's progress has far exceeded what she thought they were capable of, and there was no reason they couldn't beat the Eagles and trouble Adelaide and Melbourne to keep the finals flame flickering.

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"We've still got that opportunity and the next couple of games are really important to us," Pregelj told womens.afl.

"We'll do our best to execute our gameplan and see where it takes us.

"We've made an impact in every game we've played and shown the league what we're all about.

"We're doing well, and everything is up for grabs."

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After a successful junior career, Pregelj took a long hiatus away from the sport to attack her career – first in teaching and then the Army – before coming back to kick a Sherrin less than two years ago.

She would arguably be in the top five of the Suns' best and fairest at this stage, forming an excellent key defensive unit with Lauren Ahrens.

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"It's been a whirlwind and I've had a blast," she said.

"It's felt rapid and overwhelming.

"The elite level we're at is a whole new world and it's been very very exciting to get your head around and sink your teeth into.

"I'm really really proud of the girls and the club.

"We've certainly got the raw materials, the only thing we're lacking is that bit of experience as a group, those little finesse things.

"We've got high expectations of ourselves and that's carried us, but those little things just take time."