Gold Coast SUNS have ramped up preparations for the opening round of AFLW Season 7 with a tough match simulation session with the Brisbane Lions on Thursday night at Metricon Stadium.

The opportunity was the first competitive hitout in SUNS colours for several new faces alongside plenty of returning fan favourites with more than 30 players fielded throughout the evening.

Gold Coast SUNS Academy product Jasmyn Smith impressed, as did fellow off-season recruits Georgia Clayden, Gabrielle Biendenweg-Webster and Courtney Jones.

2020 Club Champion Lauren Ahrens was at her roaming best across defence, while the likes of Ellie Hampson, Claudia Whitfort, Alison Drennan and Lauren Bella appear ready to fire with the opening round just three weeks away.

Jamie Stanton made the most of her time forward of the ball, kicking a remarkable goal from an acute angle early in the contest, while 2021 draftee Giselle Davies and Tara Bohanna provided regular lead-up targets for the SUNS midfield.

There was also a long-awaited return for local product Annise Bradfield following a lengthy recovery from an ACL injury that saw her miss the entirety of last campaign.

The SUNS continue their preparations for Round 1 with its official practice match against Geelong at the Austworld Centre Oval on Saturday, August 13 – a week to the day out from the season-opening fixture against North Melbourne in Hobart.