Saturday’s (26/03/2016) AFL 2016 Round 1 match is between Gold Coast Suns and Essendon Bombers. The opening bounce is set to commence at 16:34 local time with the game to be played at Metricon Stadium. The home team Gold Coast Suns are the favourite for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between Gold Coast Suns and Essendon Bombers.
When: 16:34 | Saturday 26/03/2016
Where: Metricon Stadium
Tip: Gold Coast Suns at $1.22
Value Bet: First Goalscorer: Aaron Hall at $24.00
B: Adam Saad, Rory Thompson, Clay Cameron
HB: Nick Malceski, Steven May, Kade Kolodjashnij
C: Matt Rosa, Michael Rischitelli, Jarrod Harbrow
HF: Aaron Hall, Tom J Lynch, Jack Martin
F: Alex Sexton, Sam Day, Ryan Davis
Fol: Tom Nicholls, Dion Prestia, Gary Ablett
Int: Touk Miller, Trent McKenzie, Sean Lemmens, Jesse Lonergan
Emg: Callum Ah Chee, Mitch Hallahan, Peter Wright.
New: Matt Dea, Mitch Brown, James Kelly, Craig Bird, Jonathan Simpkin, Darcy Parish, Ryan Crowley, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Matthew Leuenberger, Mathew Stokes
B: Matt Dea, Mitch Brown, Martin Gleeson
HB: Mark Baguley, Patrick Ambrose, James Kelly
C: Brendon Goddard, Craig Bird, Jon Simpkin
HF: Adam Cooney, Kyle Langford, Jackson Merrett
F: Zach Merrett, Joe Daniher, Darcy Parish
Fol: Shaun McKernan, Ryan Crowley, David Zaharakis
Int: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, James Gwilt, Matthew Leuenberger, Mathew Stokes
Emg: Sam Michael, Sam Grimley, Nick Kommer.
Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett says the expansion club are ready to make their AFL finals debut.
Ablett also hopes a top-eight tilt may just convince off-contract star Jaeger O’Meara to stay at the Suns.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan admitted on Tuesday it was time the Suns finally cracked the finals in their sixth year.
Ablett agreed, saying success was the best way to retain players at the Queensland club.
O’Meara is off contract and been linked to a move to Victoria where he is developing business interests.
Hawthorn is the latest club linked to the superstar.
Ablett said he had spoken briefly to O’Meara and was convinced the youngster would stay on the tourist strip.
“I think so, yes,” Ablett said.
“I had a chat to him about it and didn’t put any pressure on him.
“I just said to him he has to make a decision that feels right.
“He had some concerns early last year, we felt we made some changes in that area – hopefully that is enough to keep him.”
Asked how they would retain players at the Suns, Ablett said: “We can start by winning games.
“We play to win premierships. If players see that as a long way off there is a chance they will move clubs.”
On the Gold Coast to celebrate the code’s 150th year in Queensland, McLachlan said the AFL needed a fit Ablett on the field and the Suns to be playing in September.
The Suns have not played finals footy in their five season history and were limited to just four wins last year after a horror run of injuries to stars such as Ablett.
“They need to start playing finals sooner rather than later – it’s time,” McLachlan said.
“(And) I think in every sport in the world their star players need to be on the park and Gary is the best player in our competition for the last five years.
“Not having him playing is a blow for all football supporters.”
Ablett said he would overcome a foot complaint and run out in the Suns’ AFL season opener at home against Essendon on Saturday.
“It was a disappointing year for us last year but we feel we are ready to play finals footy,” Ablett said.