Suns coach contemplating Smith AFL return

·2-min read

Gold Coast's need for a specialist ruckman may result in Zac Smith being rushed into their AFL side to face Sydney on Saturday.

The 31-year-old has been sidelined since late February after suffering a posterior cruciate ligament injury in a practice match against Brisbane.

Smith returned to training this week in a timely boost for the Suns, who have had shocking luck with injuries to their talls.

Co-captain Jarrod Witts' is out for the season after rupturing his ACL against Adelaide, untried youngster Matt Conroy is also out for the year with an ACL injury while swingman Sam Day is sidelined with a knee complaint.

It means Suns coach Stuart Dew is seriously contemplating bringing Smith straight back in to face the Swans at Metricon Stadium.

"Zac will play, we've just got to work through whether that's straight in to the AFL or VFL," Dew said.

"He's clearly missed a number of weeks and then even at AFL level it's been a while.

"We've just got to work through how that looks for us.

"He's done a fantastic job with his rehab ... he's really worked his way to get back as quick as possible.

"There's this week but then there's obviously another 15-16 games.

"We'll probably look at what's his preparation to set him up to play really good AFL football.

"If that's this week, we can manage his time, but we're also bearing in mind we know Wittsy's out for the year, so we're going to look for Zac to shoulder a big load."

Dew confirmed Charlie Ballard (ankle) and Sean Lemmens (concussion) are in contention to return after missing last weekend's heavy loss to the Western Bulldogs.

The 62-point defeat at Marvel Stadium featured a first-half display Dew labelled "unacceptable" as the Suns, who have won just once in 2021, went into the break trailing 11.4 to 1.3

"We got a response in the third but clearly we need to start games like that," Dew said.

"The game's too hard to give any side a head start, let alone Western Bulldogs under the roof at Marvel Stadium.

"We showed some resilience but we'd rather talk about what we need to get right as opposed to the responding."