Tom Stewart looks dejected after Geelong's loss to Melbourne at the MCG in round eight, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

YARTAPUULTI managed it less than a week ago, and now Gold Coast will attempt to do the same in Darwin on Thursday night – slow the influence of Geelong vice-captain Tom Stewart.

Ken Hinkley's team got under the skin of the five-time All-Australian last Friday night by assigning small forward Jed McEntee to shadow his every move.

It was a key component in the upset win for Yartapuulti, with Stewart restricted to 18 disposals and giving away a 50m penalty at one stage for throwing his opponent to the turf.

Speaking alongside Stewart to promote the opening game of Sir Doug Nicholls Round, Gold Coast co-captain Touk Miller made no secret of the fact the Suns would be attempting to emulate Port's success.

"He's someone whose magnet is always going to be on the board, he's a really damaging player and has been for a long time.," Miller said at TIO Stadium.

"He's someone we'll look to target, and I know he'll see that coming. 

"When you do have good players … you've got to find a way to work around them or restrict their damage."


Even before Miller volunteered his thoughts, Stewart said he expected the Suns to send some attention his way.

The intercepting king said it was something he expected "most weeks".

"Last week I showed I was human and I'm ok with that," Stewart said.

"It's a badge of honour for me. From where I've come from to where I am now, to have teams putting that much time and effort into my game to stifle what I can do is something I wear proudly.

"I expect the same from Gold Coast and we'll do the same to their good players like Touk.

"It's AFL footy and that's what we anticipate."


Both teams are expected to make a handful of changes for the contest, with Stewart confirming Shannon Neale would replace the rested Tom Hawkins.

Gold Coast will recall Brayden Fiorini and David Swallow, who were managed at the weekend, while Sam Day and Ned Moyle have been flown north as cover for youngster Jed Walter and co-captain Jarrod Witts.

(L-R): Touk Miller, Brayden Fiorini and David Swallow celebrate a win during round 17, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Miller said it made little difference to his team that Geelong would be without Hawkins and offsider Jeremy Cameron (concussion).

"It's different conditions," he said.

"I feel like it does bring everyone down to a certain level. You wouldn't say it's a tall marking forward's arena when you come up here, but in saying that, they're two well respected players that bring a lot to the Geelong football club.

"We can only play who Geelong put out there."