They may not be able to make the eight but the Gold Coast Suns still hope to help shape it.
Last round winners the Suns are backing themselves to upset Melbourne’s slim AFL finals plans with a victory at the MCG on Sunday.
Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade said they were confident of providing nuisance value after a rare win – last round’s 24-point triumph over Fremantle.
“There’s an opportunity there over the next five weeks,” he said of Gold Coast’s regular season run home.
“For players to actually stand up, guys who are nearly entrenched in the team to show some leadership.
“The last few weeks we have seen that so hopefully we can get some more.”
The 11th-placed Melbourne are four wins outside the top eight after their frustrating six point last round loss at West Coast.
The 15th-placed Suns welcomed back former Eagle Matt Rosa from a hamstring injury for the Melbourne trip, adding him to a 23-strong squad to be trimmed on Friday.
Meanwhile, Eade said gun midfielder David Swallow may make his return from pre-season knee surgery next weekend in the reserves.
“That would give him two or three games by the end of the year to give him a bit of confidence going into the pre-season,” Eade said.
Former Rising Star winner Jaeger O’Meara may not be so lucky.
Time is running out this year for him to make his AFL comeback from a 2015 pre-season knee injury.
He has been rested from this weekend’s Suns reserves due to knee soreness.
Gold Coast have just five AFL regular season games left this year.
Skipper Gary Ablett is expected to return in the 2017 NAB Challenge after undergoing successful shoulder surgery on Wednesday.