ZAC SMITH will play his first AFL game in almost two years on Saturday when Gold Coast travels to play Geelong at GMHBA Stadium.
Suns coach Stuart Dew confirmed on Wednesday they would unleash the ruckman against his former club after he played three games at VFL level on the comeback from a PCL injury.
Since the season-ending ACL for captain Jarrod Witts in round three, Gold Coast has used makeshift duo Caleb Graham and Chris Burgess in the ruck.
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Now Smith will get his turn after last playing for the Suns in 2015 and most recently lacing up for the Cats in round 20, 2019, before returning to his original club.
"We're looking forward to having Zac back in the side," Dew said following Wednesday's main training session.
"He's got himself to a point where he's really confident and we're confident in what he can do.
"We wanted to make sure he hit the ground running and can really add to the side, which we think he can."
Smith has gradually built minutes at the lower level in the past three weeks, and was used at centre bounces at every opportunity against Brisbane last Thursday night.
He will be one of at least three additions to the Suns team that was hammered by Brisbane at the weekend, with vice-captain Touk Miller (suspension) and pressure forward Nick Holman (concussion) both returning.
Dew said there was no panic following the poor showing against the Lions, but he expected "a response" on Saturday.
"We're not trying to sweep it under the carpet, we're trying to set high standards," he said.
"It's not fatal, it's not final.
"Bar that game and a half against the Bulldogs, I think the facts would say we're still making some gains in key areas. We've got to make sure we rebound this week.
"Geelong are a quality football side, but we can't shy away from the fact that when we play on our terms, which we've done a number of times this year both home and away, that we can really challenge for the win.
"We want to see some behaviours that reflect that from the start.
"We put ourselves in a vulnerable position by the game on the weekend … but we don't think that's fatal for the season."