Jury out on top gun Maverick - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jury out on top gun Maverick

By Laine Clark 09/04/2011 06:25:05 PM Comments (0)

The message was clear from a "scarred" Gold Coast - don't pin your hopes of a Suns revival on gun youngster Maverick Weller on Saturday.

The Suns are desperate for some good news after their disastrous AFL debut - a 119-point thumping at the hands of Carlton last round.

And it seemed to come from the selection table ahead of Saturday's away clash with Western Bulldogs - teenage midfielder Weller would finally be unleashed.

Considered one of the Suns' most exciting prospects, Weller was mentioned in the same breath as the likes of No.1 draft pick David Swallow ahead of their much-hyped season-opener with the Blues.

Unlucky not to run out against the Blues, Weller was one of three changes to the Suns outfit eclipsed by Carlton at the Gabba last weekend.

But Suns assistant coach Ken Hinkley hoped too much pressure wasn't placed on the 19-year-old to turn things around despite being a standout for the Gold Coast in the VFL last year.

"He will be like a lot of our young boys - there will be part of his game that he will have to continue to get better at, but there will be exciting parts that you will see," Hinkley said.

"There will be glimpses - hopefully there will be more glimpses as we go."

Hinkley tried to sum up the overwhelming expectation Weller had to endure going into his debut AFL year.

"Here is someone who was 17 when he came to this club and he had a lot of football out," he said.

"I have seen it with young players, sometimes the expectation is hard and unfair.

"But you just know with games and experience they will develop into the player that people want them to be and he will want to be."

Weller comes in for midfielder Marc Lock while defender Michael Croad replaces Josh Toy and ruckman Daniel Gorringe slots in for Josh Fraser (ankle).

Still Weller's injection will be savoured by a young group Hinkley hopes is not mentally damaged by their thumping.

Asked if their team - which featured 12 debutants last week - was "scarred" by their brutal AFL introduction, Hinkley said: "We hope not.

"I suppose there's some issues with the type of loss that we had.

"But they are young, we have encouraged them to make mistakes and we know they are going to make mistakes, but we expect them to bounce back pretty strong.

"That's the nature of AFL footy - you have to move on."

Hinkley wasn't going to sugarcoat the Bulldogs challenge either, especially after they named fiery forward Barry Hall despite being subbed off from last weekend's big win over the Brisbane Lions with back spasms.

"We have to play at our very best just to get near the Bulldogs," he said.

"They have been a top four side for a long time, they got their confidence back a little bit last week, they have got the bye the week after so they will be up and about for our game.

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