David Swallow has always done things a little bit differently.

The No.1 draft pick from Gold Coast's inaugural crop in 2010 has waited a full decade to play a primetime game, but the 27-year-old finally gets his chance against the Western Bulldogs on Thursday night.

It's also the first time he'll play a game off a five-day break.

Swallow has seen everything at the SUNS since coming to the club as a teenager 12 months before they were admitted into the AFL.

He's seen the departure of two senior coaches, two CEOs, and a mass of talented teammates, including Tom Lynch and Dion Prestia who have gone on to win premierships.

But throughout it all, Swallow has remained a SUN, and now it looks like a new dawn is rising.

"I'm certainly optimistic," the co-captain said.

"The best thing about it is I know a lot of these guys are going to be here for the next few years, that's the most pleasing aspect.

"I'm not wanting to look too far ahead and not putting a limit on what we can do.

"I'm certainly excited to see what happens for the rest of the year – hopefully we can play finals."

Late in 2018 Swallow extended his existing deal by five years to keep him at Carrara until the end of 2024.

His signing began a tidal wave of teammates that agreed to long-term deals over the next 12 months. Young talent Ben King, Izak Rankine and Jack Lukosius followed suit, adding two years to their initial terms.

Swallow had a number of reasons for sticking around when most others left.

He said Gold Coast's loyalty after a horror knee injury that cost him all-but six games in 2015 and 2016 was a major factor.

"I had a pretty good year in 2014 (where he was named best and fairest) and then I missed two years," he said.

"When I came back from injury I felt like I hadn't given the club everything and they'd given me my first few years.

"I wanted to give it everything I had.

"I knew it was a big challenge up here, that was another factor and it excited me.

"We had Mark (Evans) come in 2017 and Stuey (Dew) in 2018, so we started to have some key pillars come in and I put some trust in the direction they were heading."

That direction has now taken the SUNS to a 4-3 record and a primetime slot against the exciting Bulldogs.

The understated Swallow said in this crazy season, the magnitude of the game hadn't hit him yet.

"I don't know if I appreciate the significance of it, but this week has certainly been a bit different," he said 

"It just feels like another game, and given the year, it feels like every week is a bit unknown.

"From a club perspective it's good for the fans and supporters to see us on a Thursday night – it's another development for the club to see how we handle it.

"The boys are all pumped."