Gold Coast will debut three players in the round one clash against Richmond this Saturday night.
Youngsters Jack Martin, Sean Lemmens and Clay Cameron have been named in Guy McKenna’s line-up. The dynamic trio earnt senior selections after a string of impressive performances in the pre-season competition.
As expected, 19-year-old Martin will headline the Gold Coast’s 22, after he completed a heavily-publicised football apprenticeship in the NEAFL feeder competition last season.
GC SUNS General Manager – Football Operations, Marcus Ashcroft, told goldcoastfc.com.au the club was excited to see Martin finally get his opportunity at senior level.
‘Jack has been with us for twelve months and his development has been just as consistent as a Jaeger O’Meara or a David Swallow, so we think he thoroughly deserves his spot given his form over the pre-season’, he said.
‘His time in the NEAFL side certainly helped him prepare for the 2014 season, and we think he is going to be a good player for us this year.’
Defenders Lemmens and Cameron will also join Martin as first-gamers, with the former bolting his way into the team after a standout pre-season campaign.
‘Sean has competed all pre-season and has certainly slotted into the senior team’, said Ashcroft.
‘He adds skill, pace and composure to our backline and deserves his chance based on the form he has shown over the pre-season.’
Originally taken as a zone priority selection in the 2012 AFL Draft, lingering hip complaints conspired against Cameron in his maiden season.
But the former AIS-AFL graduate has been a shining light at centre half-back in Rory Thompson’s absence, and will provide serviceable support to key defenders Steven May and Matthew Warnock against the Tigers’ forwards.
‘Clay had some injury worries last year but after off-season surgery has enjoyed a terrific pre-season.
‘His endurance and testing times were in the elite category, and we have been excited by the progress he has made.
‘Similar to Sean, based on his performances in the NAB Challenge he thoroughly deserves his spot down back.’
Elevated rookie Andrew Boston has been rewarded with a place in the team. The sharpshooter earnt an upgrade to the senior squad after promising ruckman Zac Smith was placed on the long-term injury list on Wednesday afternoon.
Livewire Harley Bennell will be managed by the club’s medical staff in a bid to fully recover from calf soreness.
Timmy Sumner, Luke Russell and Alex Sexton have been named as emergencies.
ROUND 1 AFL Premiership Senior Team
B: M. Warnock, S. May, G. Broughton
HB: S. Lemmens, C. Cameron, T. McKenzie
C: M. Shaw, G. Ablett, J. Harbrow
HF: A. Hall, T. Lynch, J. Martin
F: S. Day, C. Dixon, B. Matera
R: T. Nicholls, M. Rischitelli, D. Prestia
INT: J. O’Meara, A. Boston, D. Swallow, D. Stanley
Emergencies: T. Sumner, L. Russell, A. Sexton