Gold Coast's top draft pick Jack Lukosius is likely to earn an AFL debut this Sunday as the Suns eye first blood against St Kilda.
The No.2 pick has been used forward by Stuart Dew in all three preseason clashes and impressed with a composure that belies his 18 years.
Injuries to fellow forwards Sean Lemmens and draftee Izak Rankine have only strengthened the South Australian's case for inclusion.
"He'll be a big chance; he's played our two JLT games and game against Brisbane and I think he's showed a fair bit," Dew said.
"He's certainly in the mix ... just his maturity and ability to cope with different situations.
"He's a good decision maker, uses the ball well and is flexible."
The teenager could be one of at least seven new faces to line up for the Suns against the Saints at Marvel Stadium.
Midfielders Anthony Miles (Richmond) and George Horlin-Smith (Geelong) will add experience, while Jack Hombsch (Port Adelaide) will bolster a defence missing Rory Thompson (knee).
Jordan Murdoch (Geelong) could be another to grab his chance after an off-season trade, while mature-age state league talents Sam Collins and Chris Burgess have both pressed their case.
New captain David Swallow said they had a right to feel optimistic about their chances on Sunday, despite some bookies offering odds of 1000-1 for a Suns flag this year.
"We had a really good summer; the boys are really positive, really fit at the moment and we'll give ourselves every chance (against St Kilda)," he said.
"We hear the noise that everyone is writing us off ... we accept that, want to give it our all and win as many games as we can."
Australian Associated Press