Round 14 AFL Selection

Rory Thompson is set to finally emerge from a frustrating injury lay-off as the Gold Coast Suns’ put their season on the line against St.Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Thompson, who hasn’t played at AFL since the first three rounds of the season, has been named in an extended Suns squad that sees potentially seven changes to the side that lost badly to Carlton at Metricon last weekend.

And given the tall defender’s high regard inside the Suns camp he is tipped to get the final nod after proving his fitness in a NEAFL comeback last weekend.

Thompson, who has played 82 AFL games since his debut in 2011 and has been a cornerstone of the club’s long-term planning, has had an infuriating run.

After a five-week layoff with a thigh strain the 26-year-old Gold Coaster flew all the way to China expecting to resume against Port Adelaide only to injure his hamstring in the warm-up, prompting club officials to make a mercy dash to the official pre-match function and pull Keegan Brooksby into the team.

He missed a further three weeks with his hamstring problem and returned in the Reserves against the Lions on 10 June before watching last weekend when the Reserves had a NEAFL bye.

Jack Leslie has done a fine job in Thompson’s absence but the prospect of a St.Kilda forward line that includes Josh Bruce, Tim Membury and Paddy McCartin, plus Nick Riewoldt, is likely to see Suns coach Rodney Eade go with co-captain Steven May, Leslie and Thompson as tall defenders.

Already one Queenslander is locked into a return to the Suns side for what will be Gary Ablett’s 300th AFL game.

Jarrod Harbrow will definitely resume against the Saints after a two-match club suspension following a drink driving conviction.

The Suns will be spared the presence of ex-Sun Tom Hickey in the St.Kilda side after he failed to win a selection recall, but Mav Weller will play against his former side.

In other Queensland selection news for Round 14 of the Toyota AFL premiership after Brendan Whitecross was left out of the Hawthorn side that upset Adelaide in Adelaide last night:-

  • Josh Smith was dropped for the second time this season by Collingwood ahead of Saturday’s MCG clash with Essendon.
  • Josh Wagner will have to cool his heels for another week in the VFL after he was named as an emergency for Melbourne’s clash with West Coast in Perth on Saturday night.
  • Zac Smith’s rollercoaster season continued when he was named among the extended bench squad for Geelong’s home clash with Fremantle on Sunday after Rhys Stanley was named in the first ruck.
  • Archie Smith, who has impressed with his competitiveness since being called into the Brisbane side, will play his fourth AFL game of the season against the GWS Giants at the Gabba Saturday afternoon.


By Peter Blucher.

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