CRUCIAL Gold Coast cogs Steven May and Dion Prestia will play their first match for 2015 on Saturday, lining up for a powerful Suns team against NEAFL outfit Southport at Metricon Stadium.
And skipper Gary Ablett is just a week away from his return.
In a 25-man squad loaded with senior talent, Gold Coast will not only trot out May and Prestia in the practice match, but also Michael Rischitelli, Jarrod Harbrow, Trent McKenzie and Brandon Matera.
Full-back May has been sidelined with a knee injury, while workaholic midfielder Prestia has been dogged by back and hamstring problems.
While it may appear a mismatch, the clash against Southport represents the best chance to get for the Suns some much-needed match time.
The seniors have this weekend off before playing their final pre-season match against the Brisbane Lions on March 20.
"We've always had this match scheduled for guys that hadn't played much over last few weeks," football manager Marcus Ashcroft told AFL.com.au.
"It's perfect opportunity to get these guys some game time."
Small forward Aaron Hall will also play his first game following groin surgery.
Southport will be no pushover, being coached by former Gold Coast vice-captain Nathan Bock and containing another Suns original in Jared Brennan.
In even more positive news for Gold Coast, Ablett (shoulder), key defender Rory Thompson (turf toe), midfield jet Jaeger O'Meara (knees) and tall forward Sam Day (calf) are all expected to play their first matches of the year against the Lions.
Ashcroft said Ablett had begun contact work at training and was progressing nicely.
"He'll be ready to play next week," Ashcroft said.
"By the time we get to round one, touch wood … most of our players will have played a game and be available for selection."
The only player certain to miss the opening round against Melbourne at the MCG is bullocking forward Charlie Dixon, who is still suffering from an ankle injury.