Six QLDers in SUNS NAB Challenge Squad

The Gold Coast SUNS could sport six Queenslanders when they host Essendon at Metricon Stadium on Monday.

Jarrod Harbrow, Josh Hall, Clay Cameron, Jackson Allen, Charlie Dixon and Andrew Boston were named in the SUNS’ 29-man squad to take on the Bombers in Queensland’s first AFL match for 2014.

The SUNS have named close to a full-strength side for the match, but will be without top liners Dion Prestia (calf), Rory Thompson (adductor), Zac Smith (knee) and Nathan Bock (leg).

It will be the first time the two teams have played in Queensland since round 3 2012, which went to the Bombers’ favour by 17 points.

Young gun Jack Martin will also be running around for the second pre-season in a row, in preparation for his likely senior debut this year.

The SUNS have been tipped to make a major move up the ladder this season, continuing their 2013 improvement, and the Bombers, under coach, Mark Thompson for the first time, will be a good litmus test to kick off their pre-season.

Essendon fans could also get to see a home-grown player make his Bombers debut at Metricon, after Fraser Thurlow was named in Essendon’s 29-man squad.

Thurlow was picked up by the Bombers in the 2014 rookie draft, on the back of a super 2013 season in the NEAFL, including a best on ground performance for the NEAFL U22 side against the SANFL U20s.

Essendon have left stars Jobe Watson, Brendan Goddard and Paul Chapman out of their side, but will debut some young blood against the SUNS.

South Australian Orazio Fantasia could take the field for Essendon for the first time, while Zach Merrett will join brother Jackson, as he experiences his first AFL game.

Essendon will certainly not be short of talent in the game, with David Zaharakis, Patrick Ryder, Dyson Heppell and Michael Hurley among those included in the side for tomorrow night.

The match kicks off at 6:10pm Queensland time.

For those Bombers fans heading down to Metricon for the match, you can buy official Essendon merchandise direct from the club at the Bomber Shop marquee inside Gate 1 from 5pm on Monday.

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