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Where: Metricon Stadium
When: 06.40 (BST)
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For the first time since Gold Coast entered the AFL in 2011, the Suns will start a QClash as favourites. Following a strong first-up win against Richmond and competitive loss against Fremantle, the Suns have earned the tag, but won’t get things their own way against the Big Brother Lions.
Justin Leppitsch’s men have had a difficult first two rounds, but showed large patches of improvement before ultimately succumbing to reigning premiers Hawthorn and top-four outfit Geelong.
They welcome back vice-captain Tom Rockliff from suspension, while the Suns will be better off for the run given to fullback Rory Thompson last week after a disrupted pre-season.
The Suns have started to forge a distinctive home ground advantage – winning nine of their past 14 at Metricon Stadium – and need to win these types of games if they want to make finals.
1. The Lions defeated Gold Coast twice in 2013, winning by two points in round three at Metricon Stadium and 33 in round 15 at the Gabba.
2. Both teams have struggled for uncontested possessions so far in 2014, with Gold Coast last (averaging 172.5 per game), and the Lions not much better in 16th with 180.5.
3. Since upsetting the Lions in the inaugural QClash in 2011, it has been a barren run for the Suns, losing the past five.
4. These are two of the best tackling teams in the competition, with Gold Coast ranked third (75 per game), and the Lions sixth (73).
5. However both sides have struggled through the opening weeks with disposal efficiency; the Suns are last at 63 per cent, while the Lions are 16th with 66.1 per cent.
6. Two of the shortest players in the competition continue to rocket up the Official AFL Player Ratings. Lion Dayne Zorko (174cm) is now ranked 26th after his 30 disposals against Geelong, while Sun Dion Prestia (175cm) is up to 86th and continually heading north.