The Gold Coast SUNS will be without a trio of young SUNS and an experienced defender as preparations continue ahead of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

Charlie Ballard has been sent for surgery on a shoulder injury with the defender expected to miss at least the first 6 weeks of the season.

Ballard stepped up in 2019 after injuries to other defenders, with the second-year player featuring in 21 out of a possible 22 games.

“It was exciting to see Charlie play such an important role as part of the team last year.” General Manager Football Operations Jon Haines said.

“Unfortunately for him, after a collision at training he required surgery on his shoulder and we’re expecting him to miss at least the first part of the season.”

Rookie Mitch Riordan suffered a knee injury at training last week with scans confirming the midfielder had ruptured his ACL.

“After limited preparations last year, Mitch had put together a really strong pre-season completing the majority of the football program.”

“He’s been a great addition to our group in his short time at the club and we’ll make sure that everyone within the club fully supports him during his rehabilitation period.”

Wil Powell is also expected to miss the start of the season, after surgeons determined he would require further surgery to assist his recovery from a knee injury suffered last year.

“After a number of discussions with Wil, club medical staff and the surgeon, it was determined that further surgery would provide him with the best chance to play without pain in his knee in the future.”

Defender Jack Hombsch has a fractured rib after a tackle during match simulation on Friday and will be assessed further over the coming days.

Overall, Haines said he was pleased that the playing group had put themselves in a really strong position to attack the 2020 season.

“We have taken a long term approach to the physical preparation of the playing group and we have been really impressed with their work ethic, dedication and commitment to the program”.

The playing group will return to training after a four day CBA leave period on Wednesday.