Clay pot cooking: Suns v Tigers R1 team projections

You can now smell what is cooking on the Gold Coast.

Gold Coast
FB: Seb Tape, Matthew Warnock, Steven May
HB: Trent McKenzie, Rory Thompson, Danny Stanley
C: Harley Bennell, Jaeger O’Meara, Jarrod Harbrow
HF: Matthew Shaw, Charlie Dixon, Brandon Matera
FF: Luke Russell, Thomas Lynch, Sam Day
Fol: Thomas Nicholls, Gary Ablett jnr, David Swallow
Int: Dion Prestia, Jack Martin, Jesse Lonergan, Michael Rischitelli
Emg: Sean Lemmens, Tim Sumner, Clay Cameron

Injured: Zac Smith, Nathan Bock, Jack Hutchins, Leigh Osborne
Suspended: Campbell Brown (club)


I have picked a best 22 for the Suns, apart from Smith and maybe Bock, but the question is whether the Gold Coast hierarchy are still in development mode or they have flicked the switch to harden up their noses and their structure with older bodies. Have they got room to blood the kids like Lemmens and Cameron, or are they putting the best team out on the park to win every week? Martin is a given, as everyone knows he’s up to the task, but there aren’t too many weak spots in the rest of the 22.

Cameron should play if Thompson or Tape don’t get up from preseason niggles ahead of Thomas Murphy and Jeremy Taylor. Russell is probably the one most under pressure with Aaron Hall and Andrew Boston lurking. Lemmens would be aiming at the HBF where I have put Stanley, who is a utility so could fit in elsewhere, but apart from Russell I don’t see who makes way. Overall, this is the year for the Suns to make finals for the first time because they’re more than good enough, so it’s a matter of whether their bodies are strong enough yet to handle footy at finals-level intensity for the whole year.

Richmond
FB: Steven Morris, Alex Rance, Dylan Grimes
HB: Dustin Martin, Troy Chaplin, Bachar Houli
C: Shaun Grigg, Trent Cotchin, Brandon Ellis
HF: Brett Deledio, Aaron Edwards, Chris Newman
FF: Shane Edwards, Jack Riewoldt, Tyrone Vickery
Fol: Shaun Hampson, Nathan Foley, Matt Thomas
Int: Ben Griffiths, Reece Conca, Nick Vlastuin, Jake King
Emg: Ricky Petterd, Chris Knights, Anthony Miles

Injured: Ivan Maric, Daniel Jackson, Ben Lennon

Newman’s recovery from a preseason knee scare means I have no place for Petterd, Knights or Sam Lloyd. King could well make way for any of those three if the Tigers hierarchy prefer outside to inside production at that position. Thomas is holding a place for Jackson, and Griffiths would only make way for Maric after at least four games. Otherwise, this 22 is rather settled.

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