Gold Coast SUNS VFL Head Coach Josh Drummond has named his first team of 2023 ahead of Saturday’s season opener against Williamstown at the Austworld Centre Oval.

In exciting news for SUNS fans, Wil Powell has been named in what is a big step forward in his road to recovery from a serious leg injury sustained last year.

In total, the side features 16 players with AFL experience including new faces Jed Anderson, Connor Blakely and Tom Berry, as well as fellow off-season recruits Bailey Humphrey, Brodie McLaughlin and Lloyd Johnston.

Drummond is expecting a battle from the Seagulls and wants his side playing at an ‘AFL level intensity.’

“We’re expecting a strong contest. They’re a proud footy club and we expect them to come out and compete at a high level,” Drummond said.

“Our mantra is we want to be playing at an AFL intensity in the VFL. If an opportunity arises (at AFL level), we want to have guys who aren’t just ready to fill in for a week and play a role, we want them to be able to come into the AFL team and maintain that spot.”

The two sides met just the once in 2022 with the Seagulls winning that encounter by 10 points. Sam Day led the SUNS on the scoreboard that day with three goals.

Saturday’s game gets underway at 12.05pm AEST on the Austworld Centre Oval and will be streamed via the AFL website, AFL Live Official App and VFL App.

SUNS VFL Round 1 Squad

1. M Chol
2. R Atkins
5. A Davies
6. A Sexton
12. S Day
16. T Berry
17. J Anderson
19. B Humphrey
20. J Sharp
21. J Tsitas
26. C Blakely
27. W Powell
29. C Burgess
37. O Faulkhead
38. L Johnston
42. J Stein
43. B McLaughlin
45. S Brock
46. C Graham
47. H Paul Oea
49. N Moyle
50. J Farrar
51. B O’Brien (emergency)
52. C Harrington (emergency)
58. W Derrington
59. M Ferres (emergency)