The NAB Challenge provides an opportunity for AFL clubs to experiment, to test new structures and to implement elements of game plans that have been developed heavily over the summer months.
For the Gold Coast SUNS, it’s no different.
Coach Rodney Eade sees Sunday’s NAB Challenge opener against the Brisbane Lions as the perfect opportunity for his players to find form ahead of the season proper and for the group to show signs of improvement after a 2015 campaign that yielded just four wins.
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“We’re not really worried about the opposition as such, probably that’s going to be the same as all the NAB Cups,” Eade told the media on Thursday.
“It’s more about us, about individuals getting some form and about the way we’ve been training the last three months.
“So things we’re trying to put into practice, see some signs of that, see some improvement in those areas.”
With an expected temperature of over 30 degrees on Sunday afternoon, Eade will take full advantage of an extended eight-man interchange and unlimited rotations.
Player loads will be managed with a focus on getting match fitness into the 26 making the trip north to Burpengary.
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“Obviously it’s going to be a warm day, the 26 players so you’ll rotate heavily,” he said.
“I think it’s more about getting game time into players as well.”