Fans shrug off wintry conditions

Friends Kylie McDougall, Jackson Dickson, 5, and Ben Dickson trying to keep warm yesterday. Picture: Mark Jesser

Friends Kylie McDougall, Jackson Dickson, 5, and Ben Dickson trying to keep warm yesterday. Picture: Mark Jesser

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ANYONE supporting a team called the Suns was in for a rude awakening in Launceston yesterday.

Torrential downpours combined with wind and plunging temperatures certainly fulfilled the mainland stereotype of Tasmanian weather, especially for Queensland visitors more used to sun, sand and surf.

But the mood of the few travelling fans among the 13,178 crowd at Aurora Stadium proved considerably brighter than the celestial entity their team is named after.

"We were expecting rain and cold, it is Tasmania after all," said Ben Genn, of Brisbane, unofficial coordinator of the cheer squad the Sunscreamers and optimistically wearing sunnies.

"We've got a few more layers on than we would have at home but we like it - it's real football weather.

"We'll go anywhere for football, it's my first time here and I think it's all right. It's a lovely ground and if you could fix the weather the rest is pretty good."

Fellow cheer squad member Carol Hunt had also travelled from Brisbane and shared a similar outlook on the conditions.

"The weather's OK," she said. "We've travelled to a lot of games and it's all part of the package."

Steve Pickering had moved from the Gold Coast to live in Hobart but had been a Suns member from day one.

"I've been here a few years now so I'm used to the weather," he said.

"It's football, it's just what you do.

"I'm having a fantastic day. The Suns have come so far and this year has been the best yet. We've got big things to come."

But perhaps the most positive of the many upbeat Suns supporters was Chris Day, who had travelled from Adelaide to watch his son Sam play and was seated among the other players' parents.

"The weather's fine, you have to play in good and bad," he said.

"It's a beautiful city, it's just having a bad day.

"I have not been here for years but I'm just rapt. The city is fantastic and so is this stadium. I walked right around it when I got here and saw the whole thing and love the old stand over on the ground next door, brilliant planning by the council.

"And the surface is fantastic, even in this weather."

Mr Day said the club was extremely proactive in involving parents, organising a meal at the Metz the previous night where he met the parents of home-town players Kade Kolodjashnij and Jesse Lonergan and was even treated to a visit by club coach Guy McKenna and director Malcolm Blight.

Asked if he felt isolated as a lone Suns fan turning up at the game, he added: "I lived in Melbourne for 12 years when the Adelaide Crows were created and have been to games when there were 30,000 Collingwood and about 300 Crows so I don't feel intimidated here at all. Tasmanians are much nicer."

Even Hawks president Andrew Newbold couldn't avoid mentioning the weather in his pre-match address.

Welcoming Suns chief executive Travis Auld and his delegation, Newbold seized an opportunity to get his own back on jovial function MC Peter Murphy.

"I'm not sure if you blokes are used to this sort of weather but if you've got any complaints, see this bloke, he's the weatherman."

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