MIDFIELD stars Gary Ablett and Marcus Bontempelli will be unleashed for the first time this year in this evening’s Gold Coast-Western Bulldogs clash at Metricon Stadium.
The talented duo will use the final week of the JLT Community Series to get match practice ahead of the opening home-and-away round later this month.
Ablett, 32, last played in round 16 last year before season-ending surgery to repair his dislocated left shoulder.
He has been named alongside former Adelaide midfielder Jarryd Lyons, who is in line for his Suns’ debut, Matt Rosa, Jarrod Witts, Jack Bowes and Aaron Hall, who return after missing the second pre-season game.
Newly appointed co-captain Tom Lynch will also come in for his second hit-out, with Brandon Matera, Matt Shaw, Jesse Lonergan and Sean Lemmens among the omissions.
Meanwhile, Bontempelli has been named again after being a late scratching from last week’s line up.
The 21-year-old has been battling an ankle issue across the pre-season, but is slated for his first run on Thursday along with veteran Matthew Boyd.
Captain Robert Murphy, Luke Dahlhaus, Lachie Hunter, Zaine Cordy, Travis Cloke, Fletcher Roberts, Tom Liberatore, Caleb Daniel and Jason Johannisen have been named for their second hit-outs after missing the second round.
Veteran defender Dale Morris will miss after his first game last week, with Declan Hamilton, Mitch Honeychurch, Lukas Webb, and draftees Patrick Lipinski and Lewis Young also left out.
Luckless rookie Roarke Smith is sidelined after suffering his second major knee injury in 18 months last Thursday against the Brisbane Lions.
THURSDAY, MARCH 9
Gold Coast v Western Bulldogs, Metricon Stadium, 4.50pm AEST
1. Pearce Hanley, 2. Jarrad Grant, 3. Matt Rosa, 4. Jack Martin, 6. Alex Sexton, 8. Brayden Fiorini, 9. Gary Ablett, 10. Kade Kolodjashnij, 11. Touk Miller, 13. Callum AhChee, 15. Dan Currie, 16. Rory Thompson, 17. Steven May, 19. Tom Lynch, 20. Michael Barlow, 21. Jack Leslie, 24. David Swallow, 25. Jarryd Lyons, 27. Ben Ainsworth, 28. Jarrod Witts, 29. Jack Bowes, 30. Peter Wright, 33. Aaron Hall, 36. Josh Schoenfeld, 38. Jesse Joyce, 41. Will Brodie, 42. Adam Saad
Notable absentees: Jarrod Harbrow, Jesse Lonergan, Sam Day, Trent McKenzie, Tom Nicholls, Brandon Matera, Michael Rischitelli
1. Matthew Suckling, 2. Robert Murphy, 4. Marcus Bontempelli, 5. Matthew Boyd, 6. Luke Dahlhaus, 7. Lachlan Hunter, 8. Stewart Crameri, 9. Jake Stringer, 10. Easton Wood, 11. Jackson Macrae, 12. Zaine Cordy, 13. Travis Cloke, 14. Clay Smith, 16. Toby Mclean, 17. Tom Boyd, 18. Fletcher Roberts, 20. Josh Dunkley, 21. Tom Liberatore, 24. Shane Biggs, 25. Marcus Adams, 31. Bailey Dale, 34. Bailey Williams, 35. Caleb Daniel, 39. Jason Johannisen, 42. Liam Picken, 44. Tim English, 46. Lin Jong
Notable absentees: Mitch Wallis, Tom Campbell, Jordan Roughead, Tory Dickson, Dale Morris
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