A likely return to action for key forward Ben King will be a sight for sore eyes when the SUNS meet the GWS Giants in Saturday’s practice match at Blacktown.
King missed the entirety of 2022 after a serious knee injury before the campaign began, but Assistant Coach Steven King says the 22-year-old is expected to earn game time in the final dress rehearsal before Round 1.
“He’ll play at least a half this week, get into it and tick that box looking ahead to Round 1,” King said.
“He’s been doing all the main training for at least 6-8 weeks now so he’s ready to go.”
His return strengthens a SUNS forward line already breaming with tall talent. Ben Ainsworth, Levi Casboult and Mabior Chol all had superb campaigns in 2022 with Jack Lukosius set to also spend more time closer to goals this season.
King says the make-up of the SUNS forward line for the Round 1 date against the Swans in a fortnight’s time is still yet to be decided.
“That’s probably the biggest challenge we’ve got as coaching staff, the different mixes of talls and smalls,” King added.
“It’ll be good feedback for us and the players on the chemistry and how that looks heading into Round 1.”
King confirmed the SUNS would re-gain the experienced Sam Collins this weekend after the key defender was rested for last Thursday’s practice match against the Bombers.
The SUNS will be without captain Touk Miller as well as Brandon Ellis, Lachie Weller, Connor Budarick and Wil Powell for Saturday’s clash, but King noted the latter is tracking well in his recovery from a hamstring complaint.
“He’s going to give us a headache and ask a couple of questions. He’s integrated well back into training this week and he’ll be knocking on the door (early in the season),” King continued.
“It’s just looking back on the process, where he’s come from and making sure he can get through a full game.”
The SUNS will name its squad to face the Giants on Friday.