Rory Thompson is ready, meaning a potent boost for Gold Coast’s defence ahead of the Shanghai AFL match against Port Adelaide.
Suns coach Rodney Eade has no qualms about bringing back Thompson for the overseas match, saying the key defender’s training gives them confidence he is right.
Thompson has been out of action for a month with a quad muscle injury.
Eade said there were no doubts about bringing Thompson back for this match, regardless of the unusual circumstances.
They arrived early on Thursday morning after nearly 24 hours of travel from door to door, with a two-hour delay in Singapore adding to the trip.
“I suppose there’s a gamble for bringing anyone back, who’s been out for three or four weeks,” Eade said when asked if Thompson’s recall was a gamble.
“But we’re certainly confident in the work that he’s done.
“He plays in a unique position where it’s one end of the ground, so he doesn’t have to run around (for) 15km.
“He’s trained well and he’s quite key to our set-up, so we’re certainly more than pleased to have him back.”
Thompson will join Suns co-captain Steven May as key defenders for Sunday’s match.
His return and the development of Jack Leslie give Gold Coast more options, with Thompson certain to spend some time on Port key forward Charlie Dixon.
They became friends when Dixon was at the Suns.
“Rory is definitely a key pillar for us and, with big Charlie Dixon dominating at the moment, it’s a timely return,” May said.
“I’m sure he’ll enjoy that (match-up), potentially at some stage.
“It does provide me with a little bit of flexibility, but the emergence of Jack Leslie has helped that.
“We’re really starting to become a more-versatile backline.”