Steep learning curve for Suns
THE moment has arrived for the Gold Coast Suns as they prepare to take on Carlton in a historic Round 2 match at the Gabba on Saturday night.
Carlton are coming off a come-from-behind 20-point victory over Richmond in Round 1, while the Suns had a first-up bye.
The bye proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Suns, as it allowed recruits Gary Ablett, Nathan Bock, Campbell Brown and Jared Brennan to shake off niggling injuries to take part in the Suns' inaugural match.
The Suns will field 12 debu- tants in their side, including rugby league convert Karmichael Hunt, and last year's top 10 draft selections in David Swallow, Harley Bennell and Dion Prestia.
The midfield has some salivating possibilities, including the prospect of Brownlow medallists Chris Judd and Gary Ablett going head to head at some stage.
Carlton will likely turn to Andrew Carrazzo or Jordan Russell to do a tagging role on Ablett.
Josh Fraser will shoulder the majority of the ruck work, with teenager Zac Smith to give him some relief.
Harris, Swallow, Rischitelli and Brennan will have their work cut out against Judd, Mark Murphy, Bryce Gibbs, Mitch Robinson and Heath Scotland.
Carlton's defence is undermanned, with Paul Bower and Michael Jamieson still missing, and Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt took advantage of this with a six-goal haul.
The Suns forward line is young and inexperienced, but does boast some height.
Zac Smith and Charlie Dixon are both over 200cm, and could prove a handful.
Brandon Matera and Alik
Magin are both clever around the goals and should have plenty of opportunities crumbing.
The Blues have a number of dangerous forwards, including Jarrad Waite, Eddie Betts,
Andrew Walker and Jeff Garlett.
The Suns boast an experienced backline, and Nathan Bock, Campbell Brown, Jarrod Harbrow and Nathan Krakouer will provide stiff opposition and provide leadership for the likes of Karmichael Hunt and Seb Tape down back.
The Suns will have plenty of crowd support, and plenty of emotion entering the match.
Will their young players be overawed by the occasion or use it to their advantage?
The Blues will also be determined to win in skipper Chris Judd's 200th match.
It will be a tough task for the Suns, and their ability to kick a winning score is the biggest question heading into the season.
The Blues should have the class and experience to prevail in an entertaining clash.