The first round of the NAB Cup continues tonight at Metricon Stadium with its tri-series lightning format involving the Suns, Demons and Lions. We will bring you live scores and commentary starting from 7.00 pm AEDT.
Gold Coast Suns
This time last year the Suns made their first appearance as an AFL team, having spent the previous two seasons in lower leagues.
They made a surprisingly good debut in the NAB Cup winning both games, one of which was against the newly formed GWS who were making up the numbers with a group of 17 and 18 year olds.
With two full pre-seasons under their belts, they’ll go into tonight’s games with some confidence that they can repeat the dose.
One of the players we are expecting some improvement from is league convert Karmichael Hunt, who has just been promoted to the leadership group and has signed a two year extension to his contract.
The whisper is that the hard work he has put in the last two years is about to pay off. If we see him start in the middle, we’ll learn a fair bit about how far Hunt has come, especially with his aerobic capacity, his reading of the game and his capacity to use his strength in the clinches.
Jaeger O’Meara, who has just celebrated his 18th birthday, has been granted permission to play tonight.
He is too young to play this season in the AFL proper, having come across to the Suns via a trade deal with GWS, who were able to nominate up to four 17 year olds pre-draft for trade purposes. We get a glimpse tonight of what the fuss was all about.
Another one to watch is last year’s number one draft pick, David Swallow. His debut year lived up to expectations, being able to play immediately as an 18 year old.
He will be looking to step up again and help Ablett out more in midfield.
The Suns have a few of their young guns missing tonight, all recovering from pre-season injuries, including Josh Caddy, Josh Toy, Sam Day and Trent McKenzie.
The Demons are out to show their improvement under new coach Mark Neeld, who is likely to introduce a few tricks which he learned during his time at the Pies.
New recruit Mitch Clark gets a chance to impress against his old club, the Lions. A move forward would see the Demons with a two-pronged attack also including Jack Watts, who showed real improvement last season.
Newly appointed captain, Jack Trengrove, becomes the youngest ever AFL captain, adding a bit of pressure to a youngster who has already shown plenty, but who is still learning the game.
The Demons are missing two ruckmen: Max Gawn and Jake Spencer, so much will rest with Mark Jamar in carrying the ruck load.
After having his face re-arranged last season not once, but twice, key forward and skipper, Jonathon Brown, will be looking forward to making a rare NAB Cup appearance.
With Mitch Clark now playing with Melbourne, coach Michael Voss will be sifting through the youngsters to see who can partner Brown this season.
Former bulldog ruckman, Ben Hudson, will debut for the club tonight, supporting Matthew Leuenberger. Billy Longer will also get a run in the ruck at some point tonight.
Daniel Rich is one of the more significant absentees for the Lions tonight, meaning Simon Black will be one of the very few experienced midfielders in the team, and Michael Voss will be rotating a few draftees through the middle to give them a taste of it.
Prediction: As mentioned earlier, I think the signs are good for a Suns double victory tonight.