Cairns a boost for AFL Suns against Tigers

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna says the Suns are five goals better off playing Richmond in Cairns than at the MCG and the Tigers admit the AFL outpost still holds fears for them.

Saturday’s clash is the second in a three-year deal for Richmond to host a game in Cairns.

Last year it proved disastrous for the Tigers, the Suns notching an upset win which virtually destroyed Richmond’s finals hopes.

While bottom-placed Gold Coast have not won a game since, McKenna said the return to Cazaly’s Stadium was a psychological boost.

“They know this is the scene of our last win,” McKenna told reporters.

“I’m sure they’ve probably got a spring in their step.”

Richmond assistant coach Justin Leppitsch admitted the thought of a repeat might still be lurking in Tiger players’ minds.

“In the backs of our minds there’s probably a little bit of fear that that could happen again,” Leppitsch said.

“It was a horrible feeling, it’s a low feeling.

“It’s probably second to losing a grand final, those sorts of days.”

Leppitsch was confident that memory would also act as motivation.

But McKenna said he would happily play Richmond in Cairns every year.

“It’s in our own backyard, so we’re happy to come up here,” the Suns coach said.

“We’re happy to play Richmond up here, because if we had a choice between Cairns and the MCG, with the Richmond faithful there, I know we’re probably five goals better off up here.”

The Suns have regained 2010 No.1 draft pick David Swallow from a knee injury which has kept him out since round seven.

They have also added debutant Josh Hall, who fell just short of qualifying for the London Olympics in high jump.

Hall played his first games of Australian Rules football at any level only last year, but McKenna said the 197cm 22-year-old forward had enormous enthusiasm.

“Anything in his area he’ll just go for and because of his leap he normally gets his hands on it,” McKenna said.

For the Tigers, defender Kelvin Moore returns from horrific hip injuries for his first AFL game since 2010.

But doubts linger over the fitness of fellow backman Ben Griffiths, who was subbed out of last round’s win over Melbourne with calf soreness.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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