Mabior Chol continues to make the most of the chance given to him by a Gold Coast Suns side whose slim AFL finals hopes could rest on the boot of the former Richmond forward.
With three rounds of the regular season remaining, the Suns remain a mathematical chance of playing finals football for the first time in the club’s history.
It’s a tall order and the Suns will need other results to go their way, but with Chol in stellar form, it’s not yet impossible.
Having joined the Suns this year from the Tigers, where the regular top-flight football was craved wasn’t forthcoming, Chol has rewarded Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew for believing in him.
The 25-year-old, 200cm giant has kicked 43 goals this season, including a career-best single-game haul of five in the Suns’ three-point weekend win over the West Coast Eagles.
“I’ve been seeking an opportunity for a very long time to show what I can do at the highest level,” Chol said ahead of the Suns’ trip to Tasmania for Saturday’s clash against Hawthorn in Launceston.
“I knew coming up here I wasn’t just going to walk straight in. I knew I was going to have to work hard and earn my position.
“There’s been a lot of hard work since the start of the pre-season and it’s just been an exciting season … I knew what I was capable of doing.”
As did Dew, who said Chol was a “real leader” who gave the Suns “great energy”.
“He’s a real thinker of the game,” the Gold Coast mentor said.
“He sees the game really well, he can understand what’s happening, patterns of play, so when he comes to the bench, he’s really aware of how the game’s going.
“The more he gets confidence to voice that to the greater group he’s going to improve his leadership.
“We’re excited by not only what he’s done, but what’s to eat.”
Chol said the Suns weren’t looking ahead to the finals but instead on the immediate task of beating the Hawks for a second time this season after disposing of them by 67 points in Darwin in May.
“We’re just focusing on each game, each week – we’re not trying to look too far ahead. It’s been exciting,” he said.
The Suns are hopeful another former Tiger, Brandon Ellis, overcomes a shoulder problem to play this weekend after he was a late withdrawal from the team that beat the Eagles.
Dew said of Ellis: “We anticipate he’ll be on the plane to Tassie.”