Michael Rischitelli is nearing a return for the Suns
Michael Rischitelli is nearing a return for the Suns JULIAN SMITH

Cavalry on its way for struggling Gold Coast Suns

REINFORCEMENTS are on the way for the shell-shocked Suns with David Swallow back to add steel to the midfield and a host of key players ready to return via the NEAFL.

Pearce Hanley (ankle) and Trent McKenzie (hamstring) will play the NEAFL match in Newcastle while Jesse Lonergan (shoulder) is also likely to be available after overcoming a shoulder problem.

Suns football manager Marcus Ashcroft said the trio were likely to require at least two weeks before being available for senior selection.

Hanley has played just the one senior game, the Round 1 QClash loss to his old club the Lions, while McKenzie has yet to appear this year.

"We'll have a lot in the NEAFL this week, the positive is we aren't going the other way with injury which gives you some hope,'' Ashcroft said.

Veteran Michael Rischitelli will join full training for the first time on Monday since undergoing a knee reconstruction last year and is scheduled to play the NEAFL match against Brisbane at Brendale in three weeks.


Suns football manager Marcus Ashcroft said Rischitelli had completed his rehabilitation and built his fitness base.

"He will start full skills tomorrow, three weeks of that and the expectations are he will be ready to play,'' he said.

Just having Rischitelli back in the main group will provide a boost for the Suns.

The side reassembled on Saturday after being granted leave following the shocking loss to Port Adelaide in China.

A week off did nothing to ease the embarrassment of the performance and Ashcroft said in the review that followed training it was made clear that it wasn't just another loss.

The game was the biggest TV audience the Suns had ever played in front of and the magnitude of the impact the loss had on the club's reputation was hammered home to the side.

There are too many followers on the Suns' list and Ashcroft said Rischitelli's uncompromising standards would be a welcome addition to the group.

In addition to Swallow, Rory Thompson (hamstring) and Matt Rosa (concussion) are also in contention to return to the senior side which plays Melbourne in Alice Springs on Saturday.