The Gold Coast SUNS gained some valuable learnings from a VFL practice match against GWS at Blacktown International Sportspark on Saturday morning.

Under dreary western-Sydney skies the SUNS fell just short against the Giants, in the end going down by 10 points.

It was Jed Anderson’s first competitive hit-out in SUNS colours, and the Territorian was combative through the midfield to win plenty of the ball and lay some heavy tackles.

Fellow new recruit Connor Blakely also added some grunt to the midfield brigade led by James Tsitas, which won more than its fair share of clearances out of the middle.

Reigning Frosty Miller medallist Chris Burgess finished with two majors in a strong display up forward.

Darwin SUNS Academy product Lloyd Johnston was impressive down back and added some flair and dash to the Gold Coast backline.

Named in the AFL squad, Bodhi Uwland lined up for the VFL side and looked sharp off the half-back line, defending well and driving the ball out of defence, while also kicking a long-range goal in the first quarter from outside 50.

Alex Sexton, who is named in the AFL squad as well, played the first half and was one of the best forwards afield, kicking two goals before being held over for the AFL match.

He was supported by Hewago Oea who showed great work-rate and forward craft throughout the contest, also finishing with two goals.

Jake Stein lined up against his former teammates for the first time and held up one of the key defensive posts for the match.

It was a valuable hit-out for the VFL SUNS who will now gear up for Round 1 of the Smithy’s VFL Season which gets underway on Saturday March 25.