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Suns circle U18 ball-magnet to boost midfield stocks

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GOLD Coast is eyeing former NAB AFL Academy member Sam Fletcher as it looks to bolster its midfield stocks just two days before Friday's selection deadline.   

Following the club's latest injury setback, an ACL rupture sustained by key defender Rory Thompson, understands the Suns have sounded out the 19-year-old onballer.   

Already holding a list spot following last year's rookie draft, added with the season-ending knee injury to Harrison Wigg, the Suns now have three available positions. 

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However, while new pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP) rules permit the Suns to fill all three, they're expected to take the remaining two positions into the mid-season draft. 

The decision from the Suns to top up their midfield comes amid a flurry of late action before the period's closure on March 15. 

Sydney added former Sandringham ruck/forward Hayden McLean on Tuesday, while the Saints were due to put former Magpie Jonathon Marsh through a medical screening on Wednesday morning. 

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Carlton pair Michael Gibbons and Matthew Cottrell, and Richmond's Sydney Stack, are other recent beneficiaries of the new rules introduced for the first time this year. 

While previous SSP selections have been largely mature-age state league products, the Suns will instead look to youth. 

Fletcher is seen as one of the most talented prospects to have been overlooked in last year's NAB AFL Draft after a number of seasons hampered by injury.   

Having overcome a lacerated kidney among various setbacks, Fletcher last year averaged 23.5 disposals playing for Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup where he was vice-captain. 

A Vic Country representative on three occasions, Fletcher also tested at last year’s Victorian State Draft Combine. 

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Other clubs with available positions - Port Adelaide, Carlton, Melbourne, GWS and Hawthorn - are expected to turn their attention to the mid-season draft.