Gold Coast SUNS CEO Mark Evans says the SUNS have already been proactive in locking in practice matches for non-selected AFL players once the season resumes.
Speaking on SEN on Tuesday, Evans said the ability for fringe players to push their case against real opposition would be invaluable with no second-tier competitions available for players in 2020.
“It’s going to be incredibly important because if you have players coming back from injury or players who are trying to prove their worth for selection you have to do something other than just train,” Evans said.
“Particularly once the season starts you can only have one main training session per week, the rest is in small groups so it’s very hard for a player to impress upon the coach about form.
“We’ve already made arrangements with the teams who will be based on the Gold Coast over that month where we’ll have some sort of a scratch match against their players who were also not selected in the AFL side.
“It’s going to be a very important part of the next month.”
One of the big concerns out of the mini pre-season has been the risk of injury while building players up to match fitness.
Evans said it was an unavoidable aspect of the current situation that every club would have to navigate.
“I think it’s quite likely (to see injuries) every time you have a change in program where you’re going from a running program into more skills, or more skills into contact skills and contact skills into practice matches then practice matches into the season,” he explained.
“Every time you have one of those changes you’re more likely to have some injuries out of it so I would suspect that we will have to deal with some things across that front end of the season.”
The SUNS have an assignment first-up against 2018 Premiers West Coast, but Evans said the club was eager to make amends for the Round 1 loss to Port Adelaide and prove how competitive they can be.
“It’s interesting for us with a young crew, they’ve been so energetic and engaged across this period,” he said.
“We really need to come out against West Coast and show people the way we trained over summer and the future that’s ahead of us.”