The Gold Coast SUNS will field their strongest side of the pre-season in the final NAB Challenge fixture against the Brisbane Lions on Friday night at Metricon Stadium.

In the SUNS' final dress rehearsal ahead of the home and away season, Rodney Eade’s side features a far more experienced outfit to the one that was defeated by Greater Western Sydney in the second weekend of the NAB Challenge series.

Following a successful return in the NEAFL practice match against Southport last Saturday, established pair Dion Prestia and Steven May will feature in their first appearance of the AFL pre-season competition. Key defender Rory Thompson will put a frustrating pre-season behind him when he returns to combat a Lions forward 50 that no longer contains champion Jonathan Brown.

Prized off-season acquisitions Nick Malceski and Mitch Hallahan have been named for a final hit out of the pre-season, along with recent draftees Jarrod Garlett and Touk Miller who have both played in the opening two games of the NAB Challenge series.

Daring rebounding defender Adam Saad’s round one chances appear to be increasing by the week with the mature-aged rookie given another opportunity to secure a spot in Eade’s round one side. The 20-year-old has crafted an eye-catching pre-season and his polished ball use forms a classy left-foot brigade backwards of centre, with Malceski, May, Kade Kolodjashnij and Trent McKenzie.

Ruck pair Zac Smith and Tom Nicholls will continue their battle for the No. 1 ruck mantle at Metricon Stadium on Friday night. Lions pair Matthew Leuenberger and Stefan Martin present a formidable test for Smith and Nicholls with former Demon Martin establishing himself as one of the games toughest ruck matchups in the back end of 2014 due to his ball winning ability around the ground.

Gold Coast SUNS Squad
NAB Rd 3 v Brisbane Lions
Friday 20 March
Metricon Stadium

2. Zac Smith
4. Jack Martin
5. Jarrod Harbrow
6. Alex Sexton
7. Nick Malceski
8. Luke Russell
10. Dion Prestia
11. Harley Bennell
14. Mitch Hallahan
15. Daniel Gorringe
16. Rory Thompson
17. Steven May
18. Trent McKenzie
19. Tom Lynch
21. Jack Leslie
22. Tom Nicholls
24. David Swallow
26. Matt Shaw
28. Kade Kolodjashnij
32. Brandon Matera
33. Aaron Hall
34. Josh Glenn
35. Michael Rischitelli
41. Jarrod Garlett
42. Adam Saad
44. Touk Miller
48. Seb Tape