Gold Coast Suns assistant coach looking forward to returning to Arena Joondalup for AFL pre-season clash against West Coast Eagles


Eagles captain Shannon Hurn and Suns’ WA product Jack Martin will feature today.
Eagles captain Shannon Hurn and Suns’ WA product Jack Martin will feature today.

But the Gold Coast Suns, who face the West Coast Eagles at Arena Joondalup this afternoon in their second AFL pre-season clash, have a number of West Australians to whom the WAFL venue will not be foreign.

One of those is Suns assistant coach and former Claremont mentor Ashley Prescott.

Prescott joined Gold Coast in 2014 after coaching stints at Essendon and Fremantle.

The 43-year-old recalled coaching and playing at Arena Joondalup during his involvement with the WAFL from 1999 to 2007.

He represented South Fremantle and Claremont as a player before becoming coach of the Tigers in 2004.

“I have some great memories of Arena Joondalup as both a player and coach, and am looking forward to returning to the ground,” he said.

“There are few greater challenges in the AFL than travelling to the West and taking on the Eagles in enemy territory, and we will be looking to make the most of the opportunity to test our skills and game plan against last year’s AFL grand finalists.”

WA products Jack Martin, Callum Ah Chee, Brandon Matera, Josh Schoenfeld, Jarrod Garlett and Ryan Davis will also have the benefit of WAFL knowledge to draw upon after being named to make the trip West.

Fellow sandgropers Jaeger O’Meara and David Swallow will not play, while former West Coast journeyman Matt Rosa was not selected to face his old club.

Unfortunately, fans will not get to see the greatness of Gary Ablett Jr. either.

West Coast supporters will remember a frustrating draw resulted the last time the sides met.

The Eagles take a fairly experienced squad into the clash after fielding a young side against Adelaide, who thumped them by 100 points.

Many of the players will be accustomed to the surrounds of Arena Joondalup, having played at the ground in 2014.

Stoppage coach and champion player Dean Cox explained West Coast’s approach to the dead rubber.

“It’s about getting minutes into a lot of our players, we’ve brought a few back who missed the first game so they get an opportunity to have a full hit out.

“But we still want to manage our list – we’ve got about five or six of our starting side who aren’t playing and we’ll get a game into them next week.”

Having experienced the AFL’s pre-season push into suburban and regional centres as a player and coach, Cox enjoyed the change up from the major stadiums.

“It’s a great concept… you get away from Subi (Oval) and give a suburban area an opportunity to support AFL,” he said.

“The grounds are generally in great condition so there’s no concerns from us.”

Also read: Eric Mackenzie back for Eagles.