High-flying Essendon forward Peter Wright will hold no surprises for his former teammates when Gold Coast take on the Bombers in a crucial match to the Suns’ AFL finals ambitions on Sunday.
Wright is having a career-best year with 40 goals to his name in 2022 already, including a five-goal haul in last week’s 10-point win over Brisbane at the Gabba.
The 203cm key forward spent five seasons at the Suns after being pick eight in the 2014 draft before his move to the Bombers ahead of the 2021 campaign.
While Wright’s form has the Suns on notice ahead of their trip to Marvel Stadium, but coach Stuart Dew is confident his players have enough first-hand experience on how to handle him.
“Obviously the players know him,” Dew said.
“They’ve trained on him a lot.
“Supply is one thing and then putting a bit of work into Pete as well.”
Last weekend’s remarkable comeback win against Richmond – sealed by an after-the-siren goal by Noah Anderson – has kept the Suns in with a chance of snatching a maiden finals berth.
Those hopes are on a knife’s edge however and a loss to the Bombers, who have won three of their past four games after just two victories in their first 12 matches of the season, would threaten to leave the Suns with too much to do to make finals.
The Bombers have kept a largely unchanged line-up from the one which defeated the Lions with Mason Redman coming in at Massimo D’Ambrosio’s expense, the mid-season draftee copping a corked thigh in Brisbane.
The Suns, who could achieve nine wins in an AFL campaign for the first time in the club’s history with a victory, have livewire forward Izak Rankine returning from COVID-19 protocols in place of Malcolm Rosas (hamstring).
Former Tiger Oleg Markov is also back in the line-up after missing the game against his old club due to the AFL’s health and safety protocols.
The Suns have never beaten Essendon in four matches against the Bombers at Marvel Stadium.
The match will also mark Dew’s 100th as Suns coach while former captain David Swallow will equal Jarrod Harbrow’s 192-appearance record for the club.