Re-signed young gun Lachie Whitfield has cautioned against his red-hot Greater Western Sydney side focusing on Gary Ablett, but he has more reason than most to put one over the Gold Coast superstar.
The Giants (5-2) head into their first ever Spotless Stadium encounter with the Suns on the back of a four-match winning streak.
GWS have won those matches by an average of 56.5 points, scoring 132.5 points per game.
Gold Coast’s fortunes have gone in the opposite direction over the past month – the Suns (3-4) losing four straight and copping 120 and 73-point floggings in their past two games.
Ablett’s form has come under intense scrutiny, but Whitfield – who re-signed with GWS until the end of 2018 – stressed the Suns had other weapons despite their recent poor form.
“Their midfield is really, really powerful and quick and they are dynamic as well,” Whitfield said.
“They’ve got an even spread through them and you’ve got to look at every single line as well.
“They’ve got Tommy Lynch up forward, who is probably the best big man in the league at the moment, so you can’t really focus on one sole player.”
Dynamic wingman Whitfield 21, has more reason than most to reflect ruefully on a direct encounter with Ablett.
“He bumped me into shoulder surgery in my first year, that was my first encounter with Gaz,” Whitfield recalled.
“It was the last game of the year and I was about to go to Europe.
“There was some cartilage and I got chopped up the next week and I was in a sling for a bit … so `cheers mate’.”
Whitfield, the No.1 pick in the 2012 draft, said while there was always the temptation to head home to Victoria, it was a simple decision for him to stay a Giant.
“If I was to leave and see success up here it would really burn me I think,” Whitfield said.
The Giants will give a debut this week to midfielder and 2015 first round draft pick Jacob Hopper, and key defender Tim Mohr will play his first senior game in 665 days after two knee reconstructions.
Gold Cost have made six changes, with last year’s No.8 draft pick Callum Ah Chee among the inclusions.
Suns’ coach Rodney Eade said his side couldn’t afford to be too defensive.
“We’ll try a few things, we’ve got to do some things different,” Eade said.