There was plenty to like for Gold Coast SUNS NEAFL coach Nick Malceski in their first hit-out of the year against Brisbane on Saturday.
The strong Lions outfit took home a 40-point victory but Malceski – with 12 AFL-listed players at his disposal – was pleased with the side’s endeavour over four quarters.
“We just wanted to out there and play the way we’ve been training all summer. We wanted to have a crack and try some new things,” he told neafl.com.au.
“We base our game on our contest and I thought that was pretty good. We had a crack and I thought Nick Holman led the way with that. It was his first game back from injury so that was exciting for him.
“Brisbane set up (defensively) pretty well and it was only a few times that we got through them, but when we did, we looked dangerous. We showed good signs.”
Holman, who played through the middle and up forward, and Corey Ellis in defence stood out for the SUNS, as did new draftee Malcolm Rosas Jnr who was lively in the forward line.
NEAFL listed player Hewago Paul Oea continues to impress, with the practice match a good opportunity for some under-18 academy members including Bailey Reeves, Aiden Fyfe, Jack Johnston and Rhys Nicholls to get valuable senior experience.
“We had a few academy players come in for the first time which was great for their development and they get a good understanding of what the NEAFL is,” Malceski said.
“’Ace’ (Paul Oea) did some nice stuff and a couple of our academy boys who haven’t played with us showed they can play at his level as well.”
With 51 players on Gold Coast’s list this year, there is plenty of competition for spots and a good buzz around the club as they look to club the ladder at both AFL and NEAFL level.
Malceski expects the momentum to build in the coming weeks as the countdown to Round 1 continues.
“I think there are a few guys who will be putting pressure on the seniors for a spot in the first game,” he said.
“We’ve got another practice game against Aspley and that will be the week of our second AFL Marsh Series game as well, so the team has another opportunity to do well.
“It’s pretty competitive. Hopefully we get a few guys back from rehab in the next few weeks.
“I think everyone is positive at this time of the year. We’re all excited and hopefully both the AFL and NEAFL side can go well this year.”
You can view the full practice match schedule here.
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