Suns down Lions in scrappy AFL win
The plumbing in the change rooms failed but that wasn’t the only thing on the nose as Gold Coast claimed a scrappy 25-point AFL pre-season win over Brisbane.
But Suns coach Rodney Eade still reckons the error-riddled display at Burpengary was enough to give midfielders Jesse Lonergan and Aaron Hall a round one sniff.
Not much went right on Sunday, starting with the toilet malfunction in the sheds.
The closest the Suns got to greatness was when injured skipper Gary Ablett appeared on the sidelines in full kit preparing for a promotional photo.
Sadly for the 3807-strong crowd, Ablett then joined fellow star Suns midfielders David Swallow, Dion Prestia and Jaeger O’Meara on the sidelines.
Ablett is not expected to be sighted until the March 11 pre-season clash against Adelaide due to a foot complaint.
Forward Tom Lynch took up the reins in Ablett’s absence and led by example in the 0.9.14 (68) to 0.6.7 (43), kicking three goals.
And Eade reckoned Lonergan (23 touches, 16 contested) and Hall did enough to stake a claim along with veteran Michael Rischitelli to join his missing midfield stars for the AFL season opener.
But Touk Miller (16 touches) also looks set to give Eade a welcome headache when he determines his midfield for the March 26 opener against Essendon.
“Jesse played really well. Hally was down a bit but he’s had a good pre-season so we know he’s in our mix, and Rischa was solid and did well again – that gives you seven (round one midfielders),” Eade said.
“With the way the game is played now with 90 rotations, you are going to need a lot of mids so hopefully we can fit them all in.”
Lynch impressed but Peter Wright looks set to pressure Sam Day for the second key forward berth this season after kicking one goal and four marks against Brisbane.
Rookie Darcy MacPherson also turned heads with a goal and 10 tackles.
Eade said he would welcome back Prestia and Jack Martin in their next clash against West Coast in Joondalup on March 3.
Brisbane had nine players making their debut for the Lions including No.2 draft pick Josh Schache, former Blue Tom Bell and ex-Cats Josh Walker and Jarrad Jansen.
Stand-in skipper Mitch Robinson and Bell impressed, as did busy draftee Rhys Mathieson, while Schache showed flashes of brilliance up forward in a first-half cameo.
Lions coach Justin Leppitsch said their best available would run out against St Kilda on March 6 in Mackay, including skipper Tom Rockliff, Pearce Hanley, Dayne Zorko, Daniel Rich and North Melbourne recruit Ryan Bastinac.