The SUNS ability to capitalise on momentum in-game is key to building momentum in their 2021 campaign according to Senior Coach Stuart Dew.

The SUNS have led at crucial stages of each of their four matches to date so far this season and have rued opportunities to apply scoreboard pressure earlier in games.

Dew’s side will need to make the most of their opportunities against the in-form Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Saturday evening (4:35pm bounce).

“A couple of the games, particularly the West Coast and Adelaide ones, we had real momentum in the earlier quarters,” Dew said.

02:12 Mins
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Stuart Dew chats selection for Round 5

SUNS Senior Coach Stuart Dew speaks to the media ahead of Round 5 against the Western Bulldogs.

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“The games are won and lost in the last five minutes, but we’ve had opportunities to put on a bit of distance earlier in the games and we haven’t taken them.

“We think we’ve had momentum for periods and haven’t hurt the opposition enough on the scoreboard. Everyone will get momentum, it’s what you do with it and how you stop it.”

While the SUNS have been plagued by injuries to key personnel in the early stages of the 2021 season, there are positive signs around the availability of Charlie Ballard who is listed as a test for Saturday’s game with an ankle concern.

A decision on Ballard will be made in the next 48 hours, while the SUNS plan of attack around their tall timber to face a Bulldogs side containing the likes of Josh Bruce, Aaron Naughton and Tim English is again a talking point.

Caleb Graham shipped the majority of the ruck duties against the Blues, Chris Burgess has taken on duties in defence and in the middle of the park this season while Jack Hombsch is also in the mix for his first appearance of 2021.

“On Monday, he [Ballard] was probably an out. He’s come on in leaps and bounds the last couple of days,” Dew continued.

“We’ll give it a little bit longer before we decided, but he’s turned a corner quickly which is a positive thing.

“We just have to decide if we go that extra tall or play a bit of a third tall that might be slightly undersized and keep Caleb [Graham] in the ruck.”

Saturday also marks the SUNS opening fixture of the revamped VFL competition which will see the SUNS face Footscray at VU Whitten Oval in the hours before the AFL fixture at Marvel Stadium.

After a lengthy pre-season which has included trial matches against the Brisbane Lions and Southport, Dew says it’s a great opportunity for a number of players to stake their claim for a spot in the senior squad.

“They’ve had some runs [in pre-season], but to play for points, travel together we’re really excited by it. I think as a footy club to go down together to Melbourne and play a couple of games, it has a real club feel about it,” Dew added.

“We’re excited to see some of these guys play. They’ve done the work and haven’t had the real games to get going.”