Suns still unsure about King as Magpies await

Justin Chadwick |

Ben King remains in doubt for Gold Coast’s next clash with the defending AFL premiers.
Ben King remains in doubt for Gold Coast’s next clash with the defending AFL premiers.

Gold Coast forward Ben King is no guarantee to play in Saturday’s crunch AFL clash with Collingwood as the Suns prepare to return to their sweet home comforts.

Sunday’s 20-point defeat to Fremantle at Optus Stadium means the Suns are now 0-7 on the road this season.

Although Gold Coast are a perfect seven-from-seven at their Carrara and Marrara fortresses in 2024, their poor away record has seen them slip to 12th spot.

King missed the game against the Dockers after hurting his knee at training a week earlier.

The 23-year-old, who has kicked 38 goals this year, will be put through his paces this week before a decision is made on his availability for the Magpies match.

“Look not sure at this stage,” Hardwick said of King after the loss to Freo.

“We have a shorter break, so we’ll see how he trains during the week.

“He’s going to fully train and go from there and then we’ll make an assessment towards the back end of the week.

“We think it was a one-week (injury), but because it’s a shorter week, it might be two, I’m not too sure.

“Hopefully he’s available to play.”

Ben King.
Ben King celebrates a goal earlier in the season against Geelong. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Gold Coast were flat against Fremantle, allowing the Dockers to skip out to a 34-point lead by three-quarter time before finally finding some spark in a four-goals-to-two final term.

The Suns lost the clearance battle 44-32, and the final margin would have been far bigger if not for Fremantle’s inaccuracy.

“From halfway through the first quarter to five minutes into the third, Fremantle kicked eight goals in that period,” Hardwick said.

“The clearances were five to 17. We got belted around the midfield, the midfield gets on top of ours and as a result the game sort of slips away.

“It was incredibly disappointing.

“We set ourselves for a fierce contest for the middle of the ground and we lowered our colours, which is disappointing.

“We’ve got some things we’ve got to get better at and a little bit of soul searching inside to get our contested game back to where we know it can be.”

Hardwick was happy with how his team responded in the midfield battle late in the game, with Sam Flanders tallying nine disposals and four clearances in the final quarter.

“We just changed personnel, we changed our midfield mix,” Hardwick said.

“Will Graham was outstanding when in the middle and really stood up.

“We moved Flanders in through there as well and they made a difference.

“What we’ve got to do is keep rotating guys through there that can get the ball going our way because at the moment we’re probably a little bit inconsistent with that.”

AAP