GOLD Coast's new-found depth can cover the "hole" left by injured No.1 pick and young sensation Matt Rowell, according to Suns coach Stuart Dew.
Rowell could miss the rest of the season after undergoing a shoulder operation this week following last week's dislocation against Geelong.
The Suns considered other options for the 19-year-old, but decided on the conservative approach with the midfielder's long-term health in mind.
However they have replaced Rowell with Brayden Fiorini, who played 21 games last season and is a member of their leadership group, and have also finally blooded first-gamer Izak Rankine, the No.3 pick from the heralded 2018 NAB AFL Draft crop.
Dew said Rowell was frustrated by his first injury but that the Suns could cover his loss.
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"He's very disappointed but I think he's got his head around that we've all made the right call on his rehab option and that gives him every chance for a long, healthy career," Dew said on Friday.
"He leaves a hole, no doubt, but with Brayden coming in, he's a member of our leadership group, he's been sitting and waiting to get his opportunity again.
"He was very unlucky to get out of the side so we really quickly put his magnet in."
The Suns have won three games since the season's restart and face Melbourne, who are slumped in 17th position on the ladder, on Saturday night at Giants Stadium.
Rowell had enjoyed a brilliant start to his career, claiming three consecutive best-on-grounds in the AFL coaches' award voting before last week's setback against the Cats. But Dew said the Suns would be able to adjust their plans.
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"We've got some guys who can play midfield minutes who play forward," he said.
"With 'Rowelly' in there clearly he's been a bit dominant so there's some guys who have been waiting for that opportunity to get some midfield minutes and we expect they'll take that chance."
The Suns will be based in Sydney for at least another week after the Dees' clash, with next week's contest against the Swans set for the SCG.
Dew said his side was used to life on the road if their stint is extended away from Queensland as the AFL continues to work through its complicated fixture.
"We generally travel often during the year as well so it's a small extension of that and we've been really good at keeping it on task and not looking too far ahead," Dew said.