It was a far more competitive matchup against Carlton this week when the reserves faced off in a scratch match at Metricon Stadium on Friday afternoon.

In the tight tussle, a number of Gold Coast players pressed their claims for AFL selection while another popular SUN made his return from injury.

SUNS Media have broken down some of the key takeaways below. 

Fringe players impress:

The SUNS had a plethora of players who have competed at AFL level rise to the top in the clash against the Blues’ reserves. It was the usual culprits in Brayden Fiorini and Will Brodie who were getting the bulk of the work done on the inside. Brodie in particular was noticeable in the contest and also had an impact in the forward line, taking multiple marks inside 50 for shots on goal, but wasn’t as accurate as he would have liked to be.

Pearce Hanley found a lot of the football off half-back and made good decisions, while Nick Holman spent time on the wing and up forward, adding experience to those lines. Peter Wright was moving well and pushed up the wing to take some strong contested marks. He managed a few shots on goal but couldn’t capitalise on his opportunities in the blustery conditions. 

Swift ball movement sees results:

What was one of the most noticeable things about Gold Coast’s match was the fluid ball movement transitioning into attack. There wasn’t as much of the long kick down the line, with players instead looking to take ground the corridor first or hit up a target at short-range.

The result saw the SUNS looking more polished with their ball use and when the opportunity presented itself, Gold Coast was able to move the ball quickly and efficiently down the field to result in a scoring shot. It also gave the Blues less time to set up defensively which created more space for the SUNS forwards to work into.

Horlin-Smith returns:

After being unavailable through injury since the season resumed in mid-June, George Horlin-Smith made his return to football in the scratch match. Horlin-Smith originally injured his foot in a practice game leading up to the season restart and has been in the rehab group since.

Returning to his usual wing role against the Blues, Horlin-Smith looked comfortable and was able to ease in to the game with some early possessions. He played on limited game minutes but pleasingly got through the match unscathed.