Aaron Hall has faith in bond with Gold Coast Suns teammates
BEING a Tasmanian, Aaron Hall knows all about persecution … in the most light-hearted way, of course.
Laughing at the mention of the word being associated with his Apple Isle roots, the Gold Coast forward says "When you first get up here you cop a little bit from the other guys. But, once we got five or six of us here we've been able to stick up for ourselves."
Being a Christian, Hall also knows all about acceptance. And it's something, he says, the Suns take seriously.
The 24-year-old scoffs at recent suggestions following a series of off-field incidents there were two contrasting groups at the club - the Bible squad and the party boys.
"Anyone who knows our playing group as a whole knows there's no divide," he tells APN, adding that new arrivals have talked of the "cohesion of the playing squad, the mateship, the brotherhood that's here".
"It's like saying if a lot of the boys are going to play some golf and I'm not a golfer there's a divide.
"I have my faith. It doesn't determine who I hang out with or what I do.
"I look at all my teammates as brothers. We see each other every day, so you build good relationships through that."
Hall, whose mother is Fijian and father Australian, is part of a small group of Suns who do pray before each game, also among them fellow Christian Gary Ablett.
While the likes of Hall and Ablett have bonded on the back of their religious beliefs - having "someone at the club you can lean on through that faith" - Hall said his captain had had a positive influence on the entire playing group, which flies in the face of recent criticism of his leadership.
"He's a great leader on and off the field," he said.
"It's not just about the possessions or goals. It's more his presence. It's his attitude, just the way he addresses the boys. He really educates you out on the field. He's like an extra coach.
"He really cares about all the boys as people as much as footballers. He's not one to jump down people's throats. He'll take you out for coffee and a chat and he'll do his best to try and assist you and help you."
Both Hall and Ablett made their returns to the Suns' line-up last week with outstanding results - both kicked three goals in the 55-point win over North Melbourne.
"North is a strong contested-ball team and we wanted to match them in that area. We wanted to be ferocious at the ball," Hall said.
While Ablett also gathered 31 disposals, Hall, who was playing his first game since round eight, played one of the best of his 52 matches since being drafted from Hobart, collecting 20 touches in the at-times difficult role of small forward.
"The challenge this week is to back it up," he said.
Heading north to play the Western Bulldogs (8-5) in Cairns, the Suns (2-11) will field arguably their strongest team all year, with Rory Thompson and Cairns product Jarrod Harbrow returning to defence, and Hall part of an attack that includes Charlie Dixon, Tom Lynch and Brandon Matera.
Hall and Ablett will again pray for a good result, but they may not need to.
BULLDOGS v SUNS
Cazaly's Stadium, 4.35pm
Also: Bombers v Demons 1.40pm; Roos v Cats 7.20pm;
Eagles v Crows 7.40pm.
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