Former Cat Zac Smith seeks to spark Suns

·2-min read

Zac Smith will seek to reboot his career and Gold Coast's sputtering campaign in Geelong on Saturday, when the ruckman ends almost two years in AFL exile by tackling his former side.

Smith was one of the Suns' most promising and consistent performers during their debut season, in 2011, then joined the Cats during the 2015 trade period.

The big man was part of star-studded teams that fell at the preliminary-final hurdle in 2016 and 2017 then fell out of favour amid the elevation of Rhys Stanley and Esava Ratugolea.

The Queenslander returned to the Suns after playing three games in 2019.

Smith was overlooked throughout 2020 but, having recovered from a knee injury, now has a golden chance to shine given injured skipper and fellow ruck Jarrod Witts is sitting out the rest of the year.

"He's got himself to a point where he's really confident and we're confident in what he can do," Suns coach Stuart Dew said of Smith.

This weekend's fixture will be Smith's first match in Geelong since June 1, 2019, while he hasn't played at the highest level since round 20 of the same season.

"I feel like there's still some unfinished business. The club has changed totally since I was there," Smith said at the beginning of his second stint at Gold Coast.

The Cats' ruck combination remains a major topic of debate among Chris Scott and fellow coaches, with Stanley unable to break back into the side since being dropped at the start of this month.

"He's a really good option for us, should we tweak the structure," Scott said.

"It's been a little while since we've had (Darcy) Fort, Ratugolea and Stanley all match fit and healthy.

"We're very open minded as to how that's all going to evolve."

The Suns sit 14th on the ladder after a 3-6 start, having suffered a humbling 73-point loss to Brisbane last week.

Dew's side must urgently return to the form they showed in a round-six win over Sydney if they harbour hopes of reaching finals for the first time in the Suns' history.

"Dave Swallow said during the week that this is going to be one of the club's biggest games," defender Sam Collins told SEN.

"It's definitely a fork in the road for us."