It was a breakthrough AFL moment for Gold Coast but the Suns’ round two win over Fremantle in Perth will count for little when the two teams meet again this Saturday.
The Suns welcome the Dockers to Metricon Stadium shorn of five of their best midfielders following season-ending injuries to Gary Ablett (shoulder), Dion Prestia (knee) and Michael Rischitelli (knee).
Fremantle also boast a lengthy injury list including Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe (fractured leg), Aaron Sandilands (ribs) and Hayden Ballantyne (facial fracture).
By his own admission Suns coach Rodney Eade believes luck more than design could find a winning formula.
“We just haven’t got the depth to cover it so we’re just going to have to be creative, as we did last year, just throw some players in there that haven’t played much there to see if we can get a spike out of them,” Eade said.
“There’s probably 10 changes from our point of view and maybe the same for Freo (from round two).
“It’s just going to be two teams decimated with injuries that are both showing a fair bit of spirit, both competing hard and both trying to win.”
Former West Coast midfielder Matt Rosa will return for the Suns from a hamstring injury while Eade confirmed 19-year-old Josh Schoenfeld will make his AFL debut.
The teenager’s selection means fellow draftee Brayden Fiorini and long-term injured pair Jaeger O’Meara and David Swallow are the only Suns’ players on the club’s senior list not to play in the AFL this year.
O’Meara came through a full match with the club’s reserves for the first time last weekend but with a bye in the NEAFL this weekend, Eade says the 2013 AFL rising star is still a fortnight away from being considered for senior selection.