GOLD Coast returned to pre-season training on Monday, with young midfield ace Matt Rowell reduced to light duties.

Following shoulder surgery in July, Rowell has put himself through a rigorous rehabilitation program over the past five months.

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The 19-year-old has been at Suns headquarters most days during its off-season and with a big workload ahead, the club's medical department has taken a conservative approach and decided to give him a recovery fortnight.

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Rowell is fit and expected to begin contact work in the new year.

Young defender Charlie Ballard, who recently signed a contract keeping him at Gold Coast until 2025, said Rowell was "built different".

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"I think he's got a hungry mentality," Ballard said.

"You look at a bloke like Kobe Bryant, I compare him to that.

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"He's in and out the club a lot. He's a workhorse.

"You saw the first four games how good he is. It's a credit to how hard he works.

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"In rehab he's worked really hard to get his shoulder back. I think it will show on the field."

While the young prodigy watched from the sidelines at Somerset College, his teammates undertook a 2km time trial followed by a 75-minute running and skills session in humid and rainy conditions.

Tall forward Josh Corbett dominated the five-lap running test, winning from big improver Jack Bowes, Noah Anderson, Connor Budarick and impressive Izak Rankine.

Many of Gold Coast's senior players turned up, although not all ran the time trial, including new recruits Rory Atkins and Oleg Markov.

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Club champion Sam Collins did some light running drills as he returns from off-season ankle surgery, while veterans Sam Day and Zac Smith also kept it to running only.