Suns Set Sights On Hawks

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Gary Ablett has been named in the Suns squad for the opening round. Image courtesy of Images
When the Gold Coast Suns hosted Brisbane and Melbourne at Metricon Stadium in round 1 of the NAB Cup last season, torrential rain hit the Glitter Strip and the matches were played in horrible conditions. There has been plenty of rain around that region this week, but the playing surface shouldn’t be anywhere near as bad when last year’s runner-up Hawthorn takes on the two Queensland sides on Saturday night.

Last year, then 17-year-old Jaeger O’Meara showed a glimpse of his undoubted talent in the NAB Cup, and now the Suns are ready to unleash the West Australian on the rest of the competition. Another Suns teenager of the same age, Jack Martin, has also been given an exemption to play in the pre-season competition before joining the senior list in 2014. Another 2012 draftee, Jesse Lonergan, will also debut and there is talk the Tasmanian could find a spot in the Suns’ midfield this season. Those three are joined in the squad by backline recruits Greg Broughton and Tom Murphy, with the latter taking on his former club, the Hawks.  Skipper Gary Ablett has been named to play.

A 2011 draftee, Brisbane’s Sam Docherty, gets his first chance at senior level after a standout year in the reserves last season, while he was named as an emergency a number of times towards the end of the year. He’s likely to be a round 1 inclusion, as are two players who crossed over from the Demons in the off-season, Brent Moloney and Stefan Martin. Co-captains Jonathan Brown and Jed Adock won’t play, and neither will Simon Black and Brent Staker who are both still on the comeback from knee injuries.

Hawthorn will unveil star recruit Brian Lake but the midfield is relatively weak as it will be missing Sam Mitchell, Brad Sewell, Jordan Lewis and Shaun Burgoyne. Providing they can get the ball in to their forward 50, the likes of Lance Franklin, Jarryd Roughead, Cyril Rioli and Co. should be able to convert frequently enough to stave off any threat from the Queensland sides.

In the slosh last year, Brisbane beat the Gold Coast by just two points in the second of their back-to-back matches, and the teams play in the third match of the evening again this time around. Hawthorn thrashed North Melbourne in its opening match of the shortened format in round 1 last season, this time around they take on the Suns first up, before the Hawks battle it out with the Lions in the second match. 

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