Midfielder Matt Rowell says the SUNS engine room is excited about the challenge that awaits them in next Saturday’s season opener at Heritage Bank Stadium.

The SUNS take on 2022 grand finalists Sydney Swans in the opening round where a battle between two midfield cores with plenty in common will play a key role.

The SUNS are set to welcome back two-time Club Champion Touk Miller, who didn’t feature in either pre-season match, to a midfield well-balanced with experience and youth ready to stamp their authority on the competition.

Rowell lined up alongside Noah Anderson and 197-gamer David Swallow in midfield against the Giants with young duo Sam Flanders and Alex Davies also spotted at centre bounces throughout the afternoon.

An eerily similar Swans midfield cohort included the seasoned Luke Parker alongside young talents including Dylan Stephens, Chad Warner and Errol Gulden, setting up an intriguing battle for Round 1.

“It’s going to be a really good test that we’re looking forward to,” Rowell said.

“As a midfield group, we know they’ve got a strong midfield so we’re looking forward to going head-to-head with them.

“We’ll back ourselves and play to our strengths. Like against any team, you’ve got to play to your best and we’re pretty confident.”

The 21-year-old says there was plenty to take from Saturday’s hitout against the Giants with plenty of SUNS getting a taste of the action.

Key forward Ben King kicked two goals in his first outing since a serious knee injury curtailed his 2022 with Rowell adding it was fantastic to see the 2021 leading goalkicker back in action.

“It’s going to be a big boost for us having him up forward again so that was great to see, and we all got around when he kicked that first goal,” Rowell added.

“We got a lot of players playing in different positions (against the Giants) with some different looks and I thought it was a good hit out overall.

“We’ll just keep working on a few things we’ve taken out of these games to work on as well as bolster our strengths as well.”

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