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Suns want to banish 'embarrassing' China debut

Suns co-captain Steven May speaks to reporters in Shanghai on Thursday - AFL,Gold Coast Suns,Steven May
Suns co-captain Steven May speaks to reporters in Shanghai on Thursday
We're certainly motivated by our embarrassing performance last year, it wasn't good enough
Steven May

A MORE motivated and better-prepared Gold Coast will take to Jiangwan Stadium in Shanghai on Saturday, according to Suns co-captain Steven May.

Last year in Shanghai, Port Adelaide belted the Suns by 72 points.

Gold Coast touched down in China a day later than the Power last year, while their arrival was delayed even further after they were stranded on the tarmac at Singapore airport for three hours.

The club also had issues with travel arrangements, with only a handful of players flying business class while the rest of the team and coaching staff were squeezed into economy.

This season, with new coach Stuart Dew at the helm for the China clash, the club has tweaked its preparation slightly.

The Suns even had some food imported to Shanghai for chefs at the team hotel to prepare for the players.

With all the travel Gold Coast has done this season so far, with their home ground unavailable, the club has ensured players eat the same food for each meal consistently when on the road.

With better preparation, there will be no excuses for the Suns come Saturday, and May said it was important to the playing group to make amends for last year's poor showing.

"It probably was a little bit of a novelty factor last year because it was such a big historic moment, but we are here for the four points," May told reporters on Thursday.

"We're certainly motivated by our embarrassing performance last year. It wasn't good enough and with preparation, it's our second time here, it's only natural that we know what to expect now.

"We've been traveling a lot this year so it's kind of normal for us. It's another away trip, just a few more hours"


Jacob Heron will make history for the Suns on Saturday when he becomes the first player to make his AFL debut overseas.

Taken in last year's rookie draft, the former Gold Coast academy player will replace the suspended Sam Day.

Key forward Peter Wright traveled to Shanghai with Gold Coast's 25-man squad, but Dew said the out-of-form Sun still needed improvement before getting a senior recall.

"He's not quite there," Dew said.

"We know he needs another run; with a tall going down it was worth bringing him over."

Dew also said there was no issue with David Swallow despite the midfielder finishing last week's loss to Melbourne on the bench. Swallow has trained fully this week.

Gold Coast will hold its final training session on Friday at Jiangwan Stadium.

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