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Five Suns spots up for grabs for round one

Michael Whiting  March 10, 2016 2:49 PM

AFL 2015 Training - Gold Coast 171215

The Suns have upgraded Danny Stanley to their senior list

I think it's good we've got selection issues and that players are on edge and need to perform

AS GOLD Coast coach Rodney Eade wrestles with his best team ahead of round one, the Suns have promoted rookie Danny Stanley to their senior list.

Stanley has played 88 career games, 83 in five seasons with the Suns, before being delisted at the end of 2015. 

However, Gold Coast promised the versatile 28-year-old it would pick him up in the rookie draft and have now elevated him under the AFL's rules relating to pre-season promotion of a rookie. 

But the Suns coach isn't fazed, saying the selection issues were a good problem to have.

David Swallow and Jaeger O'Meara were never in the frame to start the season with their respective knee injuries, while captain Gary Ablett (foot), Dion Prestia (knee) and Jesse Lonergan (ankle) will also be forced to watch on.

Eade expected the latter three to play the season opener against Essendon on March 26, declaring Ablett "100 per cent".

He left some wriggle room for Prestia though, saying he was "a reasonable chance" after some light running at Wednesday's main session.

It all adds up to a number of players playing for spots on Friday night.

"Playing against a very good side is a great test for us," Eade said on Thursday morning.

"I think it's a great tune-up for round one playing against a team the quality of Adelaide.

"Say those three (Ablett, Prestia, Lonergan) play, there'd still be another four or five spots up for grabs, so the form tomorrow night will be vital in our selection analysis for round one."

Sam Day and Peter Wright appear to be battling for one spot alongside Tom Lynch in the forward line, while Trent McKenzie vaulted into calculations with a strong showing against West Coast last week.

Matt Shaw and Brandon Matera are also fighting for spots, while rookies Tom Keough and Ryan Davis have a virtual shootout to win an elevation to cover Swallow's long-term injury.

"People will think we need our best 22 decided so they can play together, but they're all playing tomorrow night as well, the guys fighting for spots," Eade said.

"I think it's good we've got selection issues and that players are on edge and need to perform.

"I think tomorrow night, against a god team, players need to be on that edge and need to be able to cope with that pressure."