Manuka Oval Saturday 12 May 1.40pm.
The AFL’s newest teams battle for premiership points for the first time at Manuka Oval on Saturday.
Both teams are winless coming into the game and it is one each would think they are a chance in. The sides met earlier in the year in the NAB Cup with GWS winning by 13 points at the Lavington Sports ground at Albury for their first ever AFL-level win.
Greater Western Sydney have been putting in some respectable performances, aside from their thumping by North Melbourne, they stuck with Carlton for the best part of three quarters, and were leading the Western Bulldogs at quarter time of their last game at Manuka. As expected, promising quarters haven’t turned into solid whole-game efforts, and 42-points is still the closest the team has come to a victory.
To be fair, injuries haven’t been kind to AFL’s newest team, with Setanta Ó hAilpín and Dean Brogan taking out a great chunk of height and experience for the fledgling Giants, with Tasmanian ruckman Anthony Phillips promoted to the senior list making his AFL debut.
The Giants welcome back Chad Cornes, Israel Folau, Jeremy Cameron, Jacob Townsend and Adam Treolar while James McDonald is being rested, Jack Hombsch has a quad injury and Curtly Hampton and Sam Reid are both omitted.
Gold Coast are coming off their most impressive effort of the season – a contentious seven-point defeat to Fremantle – yet lost defender Nathan Bock for the season with a broken leg.
The Suns will however welcome back a number of senior players returning from injury including Gary Ablett Jnr, who along with Michael Rischitelli, Jared Brennan and David Swallow proved their fitness at training this week to return to the starting side and Michael Croad is added to the squad after a long layoff with injury.
For the first time, Gold Coast go into the game in the unfamiliar role as favourites and the battle of the leagues newbies should prove great interest to the wider footy community to compare where both sides sit in their embryonic stages.
Ablett/Swallow V Tom Scully/Dylan Shiel – Containing Ablett will be the key to containing the Suns, with Shiel likely to get a tagging role after some notable nullifying roles. Scully and Swallow will be a compelling contest between two emerging midfield stars.
Harley Bennell v Tom Bugg – Bennell announced himself to the footy world in a big way against Fremantle with 37 touches and three goals, with Bugg or Phil Davis hoping to quell the exciting forward.
Israel Folau V Karmichael Hunt – Although highly unlikely from a positional perspective, surely the old stager Kevin Sheedy will have a sense of theatre enough to give Izzy a run on Hunt to create an intriguing ex-league matchup.
The Suns have some great inclusions and will take a lot of confidence from their close loss to Fremantle, while the brightness of the Gold Coast stars may be dulled slightly due to injury clouds they should prove the difference against a willing but inconsistent Giants.
The first half should be a cracking spectacle, with the Suns likely to run out the game better.
Suns by 35.
B: Luke Power, Tim Mohr, Adam Kennedy
HB: Tomas Bugg, Phil Davis, Dylan Shiel
C: Tom Scully, Toby Greene, Chad Cornes
HF: Adam Treloar, Jeremy Cameron, Dom Tyson
F: Rhys Palmer, Israel Folau, Devon Smith
FOLL: Jonathan Giles, Callan Ward, Jacob Townsend
I/C: Andrew Phillips, Stephen Coniglio, Liam Sumner, Taylor Adams
Emg: Nathan Wilson, Adam Tomlinson, Sam Reid
IN: Jeremy Cameron, Israel Folau, Andrew Phillips, Jacob Townsend, Adam Treloar, Chad Cornes
OUT: Curtly Hampton, Jack Hombsch, Dean Brogan, Setanta Ó hAilpín, James McDonald, Sam Reid
GOLD COAST SUNS
B: Jared Brennan, Matthew Warnock, Seb Tape
HB: Sam Iles, Michael Coad, Joel Wilkinson
C: Michael Rischitelli, Karmichael Hunt, Trent McKenzie
HF: Harley Bennell, Tom Lynch, Josh Toy
F: Campbell Brown, Sam Day, Luke Russell
FOLL: Zac Smith, Josh Caddy, Gary Ablett
I/C: Charlie Dixon, Dion Prestia, David Swallow, Kyal Horsley
EMG: Daniel Stanley, Matt Shaw, Jeremy Taylor
IN: Gary Ablett, Michael Coad, Michael Rischitelli
OUT: Maverick Weller, Matt Shaw, Nathan Bock
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