Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade doesn’t spend his days casting envious eyes at Greater Western Sydney counterpart Leon Cameron.
In a year where the Suns have battled both on and off the field, the Giants are soaring as they push to become the first of the AFL’s expansion teams to reach the finals.
A year ago it was the Suns who looked set to reach that milestone first but Cameron’s men head to Metricon Stadium eighth on the ladder with eight wins for the year.
Eade says despite the obvious comparisons between the two clubs, in his opinion Saturday’s match is just another chance for the Suns to pull away from the bottom of the ladder.
“I just treat GWS as another opponent,” Eade said.
“It’s interesting, I know the public interest and especially the media interest is going to be about because they’re the two expansion clubs.
“It’s like saying if we finish 11th and they finish 12th we’ve had a successful year because we’re in front of the Giants, well that’s garbage.
“We’re about the rest of the competition and I would think GWS are as well.”
The Suns have made four changes for Saturday’s clash from the team which was overrun in Cairns last weekend by the Western Bulldogs.
Charlie Dixon (ankle) and David Swallow (knee) are the two big absentees while Seb Tape has a hamstring injury and Sean Lemmens was dropped.
In their place ruckman Zac Smith headlines the inclusions, with Peter Wright, Clay Cameron and Josh Glenn the others brought into the line-up.
Dropped following Gold Coast’s 15-goal loss to the West Coast Eagles in round seven, Smith’s form in the Suns’ reserves made him impossible for Eade to ignore even it means playing two ruckmen.
“Playing the two rucks again, it probably hasn’t worked in the past,” Eade said.
“His (Smith) form has been sensational, so you have to reward players that are in some form.
“His form has been that good that we need to play him.”
The most pressing concern is avoiding a similar fade-out to that experienced against the Bulldogs, when the Suns surrendered a 26-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter to lose by 22 points.
With the Giants playing a similar running style of football, Eade admits it’s a concern.
“There’s no hiding from that. That’s their strength and they got us last time with their run,” he said.
“We’ve got to put some strategies in place to try and curb that. Last week some players were injured during the game, who were running. We probably had four or five players there who aren’t great runners anyway and with the humidity we just fell over the cliff in the last quarter.
“Hopefully the players we’ve picked have got enough match conditioning that they’re able to see the game out.”
The Giants have made one change for the game with Josh Kelly coming in for injured midfielder Dylan Shiel (knee)