Pre-season fixtures critical to Suns: Horlin-Smith
NEW Suns leader George Horlin-Smith says the upcoming JLT Community Series will have added importance for Gold Coast as they look to build synergy and momentum going into the AFL premiership season.
Gold Coast will begin the pre-season series by playing the Western Bulldogs in Mackay this Sunday before coming up against Sydney a week later in Lismore.
Horlin-Smith, who was earlier this week named among the club's leadership team, said it was a critical time for the Suns who are trying to build synergy with a host of new faces, including his own, and implement coach Stuart Dew's game plan in his second year at the helm.
"They are really important for us," Horlin-Smith said days after helping the Suns beat Brisbane in a scratch match at Metricon Stadium.
"Any competitive moments, whether in training or games, are important minutes together for us because we are trying to gel.
"There are so many new faces who have come together and to do that in a game situation is going to be important going into the first five or six rounds of the season. We need to make them count."
The 26-year-old signed with the Gold Coast from Geelong in the off-season search of increased opportunity at senior level and has quickly gained the respect of his teammates.
But the midfielder said his position was far from guaranteed despite his leadership position and believed even he was under pressure to secure a spot in the best 22 as the likes of young guns Callum Ah Chee, Wil Powell and Ben Ainsworth continue to develop.
"I feel I have more to give but it will depend on selections and guys played well on the weekend," Horlin-Smith said.
"I'm under no illusion spots won't be just handed out. The JLT is really important for individuals as well as the team.
"There were no promises made to me when I came here and I really like that about Gold Coast.
"If you are good enough, you play."
Meanwhile, ruckman Tom Nicholls and swingman Jordan Murdoch are expected to be available for selection this weekend despite suffering injuries against the Lions on Saturday.
Nicholls corked his calf while Murdoch did the same to his quad.
Defender Jesse Joyce missed the win over Brisbane with a knee complaint but is also available for the pre-season game against the Bulldogs.