Southport giant Rory Thompson will become the 13th Queenslander to make his AFL debut this season following his elevation to the Gold Coast Suns side tonight.
Friday, 7 July, 2011
Southport giant Rory Thompson (pictured) will become the 13th Queenslander to make his AFL debut this season following his elevation to the Gold Coast Suns side tonight.
And that list, already a record for most debutants in a season, could yet grow to 14 this weekend after Gympie youngster Lachlan Keeffe was included in the Collingwood squad subject to final trimming.
Thompson, a 200cm 20-year-old recruited by the club in 2009 as a key forward/ruckman, won his first AFL selection after being thrown into a key defensive role in the Reserves side in the NEAFL.
It has given him an opportunity to stake a claim to fill what is a major hole in the Suns make-up as they look to juggle their playing list for season 2012.
Thompson, son of ex-Southport premiership full forward and Labrador senior coach Brett Thompson, is a Sharks junior who played for Queensland at U16 and U18 level.
Wearing jumper No.16, he played 15 games with the Gold Coast in the TAC Cup competition in 2009 and 13 games with the Suns in the VFL last year before winning a spot on the club’s inaugural AFL playing list.
Thompson was included in the Suns side for Saturday night’s Metricon Stadium clash with the Sydney Swans as coach Guy McKenna made four changes.
Michael Rischitelli will return from injury as Harley Bennell and Tom Lynch also were recalled.
Sam Day was ruled out with a knee injury, while Hayden .Jolly, Jack Hutchins and Seb Tape were omitted.
Felow Queenslander Charlie Dixon was named an emergency despite kicking 11 goals for the Reserves last weekend.
Thompson will follow fellow Queenslanders Zac Smith, Charlie Dixon, Karmichael Hunt, Alik Magin, Marc Lock, Claye Beams, Broc McCauley, Bryce Retzlaff, Joey Daye, James Mulligan, Rex Liddy and Joel Wilkinson in graduating to AFL ranks this year.
Keeffe, a first year senior list player at Collingwood in his third year with the club, will endure an anxious wait ahead of final selection ahead of the Pies’ Sunday clash with North Melbourne.
The 204cm 21-year-old, a member of Collingwood’s 2011 NAB Pre-Season Premiership side, has been an emergency more often than not this year while playing consistently well for the Collingwood VFL side.
He is in the mix following the loss of full forward Chris Dawes through injury, while Keeffe a contender for a key defensive spot if fullback Chris Tarrant is swung forward to replace Dawes.