David Swallow wrestles with Gary Ablett.
David Swallow wrestles with Gary Ablett.

Why Lynch isn’t Suns biggest headache

FOR all the talk about co-captain Tom Lynch's future and the impact his potential departure would have on the Suns, it has taken new coach Stuart Dew half a season to realise that is not his biggest headache.

Dew has challenged his midfield to respond from last week's shocker against Geelong declaring that's where the match against GWS at Spotless Stadium on Sataurday will be won or lost.

The Suns have Peter Wright, a top-10 draft pick with 42 senior games and 59 goals, running around in the NEAFL as the obvious long-term replacement should Lynch go.

He is also spending more time in the ruck at NEAFL level, where he has been producing his best football, to add another string to his bow if Lynch stays.

They do not have midfield depth.

David Swallow and Touk Miller will shoulder the load in a young midfield that also includes second-year players Will Brodie, Jack Bowes, Ben Ainsworth and Brad Scheer against the Giants.

Gary Ablett clashes with Touk Miller.
Gary Ablett clashes with Touk Miller.

"It's a midfield battle,'' Dew said.

"I think the way our mids let our backs down last week, I think the way the ball was coming in, that is going to be a big deciding factor.

"So that's where the game will be won or lost. It will be good to watch, I'm looking for a response.''

The Suns are doing everything they can to convince Lynch to stay but the reality is, should he go, it would be midfielders and not a key forward they would chose to replace him with.

The departures in recent years of Gary Ablett, Jaeger O'Meara, Dion Prestia and Josh Caddy have caused major long-term damage to the Suns' list.

The Suns are clearly making decisions each week with an eye to the future.

Sam Day in action for Gold Coast.
Sam Day in action for Gold Coast.

Forward Sam Day has made an encouraging return from a serious hip injury and in the past, during the frequent absences of Steven May or Rory Thompson, he would be the automatic call-up to head down back.

However, he has stayed in the forward line, where he could find himself the major focal point next year, with Jack Leslie called-up to replace injured skipper May.

With Mick Barlow suffering a broken jaw, Jarryd Lyons is the only midfielder with regular senior experience in the reserves.

His omission for Brodie - a top-10 pick two years ago - last week shocked, but his form had tapered dramatically in his last few senior games.

Dew said now Brodie was in he deserved multiple weeks to show what he could do.

"Will Brodie did some good things last week, but obviously needs to learn a lot and we'd love to have another look at him,'' he said.

"His (Lyons') workrate was good last week and that's what we want to see, really strong work rate but we'd love him to dominate at NEAFL level.''