Gary Ablett - is he leading contenders or pretenders? Picture: Getty Images/couriermail.com.au
Adelaide v Gold Coast
Sunday June 1 – 1:10 PM (AEST)
Gold Coast: WWWWW
It's a huge challenge - the Gold Coast tackling the Crows at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday afternoon.
The Crows always seem to lift at the Adelaide Oval, and that was shown in their last home match, when they beat Collingwood by 21 points in round nine. Patrick Dangerfield fell victim to a heavy hit to the back in last round’s loss to Carlton, but scans have cleared him of any structural damage and he’s been named in the team. Young gun, Brad Crouch, is still a few weeks away from an AFL return, as he continues to fight for fitness after recovering from a broken leg. The 20-year-old midfielder picked up the injury in the round two derby loss to Port. But with Dangerfield included in the team lists ahead of Sunday’s match, coach Brenton Sanderson hasn’t had to make any forced changes to his squad.
The Suns found their feet after a slow start last weekend to blow the Western Bulldogs off the park, winning by 45 points at Metricon Stadium. Gary Ablett made the headlines again this week, but surprisingly not for his performance. The star midfielder had a quiet game, but he almost blew his chances of winning this year’s Brownlow Medal after he appeared to elbow Liam Picken. But the match review panel ruled there wasn’t enough force to justify a suspension and he continues to firm as favourite to go back-to-back in the game's the best and fairest award. Fullback Rory Thompson was a strong chance at the beginning of the week to overcome a wrist injury which ruled him out last week, but his name isn’t featured on the Suns team list and he'll be given more time to recover.
The Suns find themselves sitting pretty in third spot, but it isn’t as surprising when you at the draw. Out of the nine matches they’ve played, only three times have they come up against opponents in the top eight, losing two of them. They have put in great performances this season and deserve to sit where they are, but they face a tough run over the next six weeks with clashes against the Swans, Eagles, Cats, Hawks, Pies and Crows. Just how good the Suns really are will be outlined after these games and it all starts this weekend against Adelaide. Ablett and co will have their work cut out for them on Sunday and the Crows should prove too strong for the Suns.