Superstar skipper Gary Ablett is among a host of Gold Coast players who could return from injury in Sunday’s AFL clash with Carlton.
A final call on Ablett will be made by the player himself on Thursday, but the early signs are positive after the two-time Brownlow Medallist got through Wednesday’s main training session unscathed.
Much depends on how he pulls up, having put his troublesome left shoulder to the test with direct contact work and tackling.
Other possible inclusions for the bottom-placed Suns are David Swallow (knee), Rory Thompson (hip), Sam Day (elbow) and Jarrod Harbrow (ankle), while Steven May (groin) and Harley Bennell (calf) are certainties to face the Blues.
At one stage on Wednesday Ablett landed directly on his problem shoulder while diving for a mark but bounced straight back up, apparently unhurt.
Ablett has not graced an AFL ground since the first two rounds of this season, when he tried to play through the injury but was clearly restricted in his movement.
“Structurally it’s fine, he’s got full range now. It’s just his confidence with it,” Eade told reporters on Wednesday.
“He’s progressed very well so far… (but) if he says he’s not right, we won’t pick him.
“It’s more a confidence thing with Gary.
“More than likely we’ll name him and then see how he goes, see how he feels.”
The Suns should start to take on a more familiar shape for the rest of the season as names are slowly ticked off their daunting casualty list.
Eade said Thompson was a (definite) to play reserves this week but a decision on Swallow was yet to be made.
“He’s trained very well and done everything right so it’s very tempting to play him,” Eade said.
Day already made his return via the NEAFL but could find himself back in the senior side for the Etihad Stadium clash on Sunday.
A question mark still hovered over Harbrow, who gave his ankle a “nasty twist” and was held back from training on Wednesday.
“His form has been very good and we’ll give him every chance to play,” Eade said.