Suns are eyeing another big scalp

THE giant-killing Gold Coast Suns, led by inspirational skipper Gary Ablett, will attempt to add another big AFL scalp to their belt when they travel to Aurora Stadium to play Hawthorn at its Tasmanian fortress on Saturday.

Gold Coast Suns star Gary Ablett celebrates a win.

Gold Coast Suns star Gary Ablett celebrates a win.

The Suns and Hawks' respective round-14 victories at the weekend have set up a tantalising blockbuster clash for Tassie AFL fans.

Gold Coast is on a roll and will be chasing the scalp of another powerhouse opponent following its historic 40-point win over Geelong at Metricon Stadium  _ arguably its best AFL victory since joining the competition in 2011.

That win lifted the Suns to seventh on the ladder but they face an imposing challenge against the second-placed Hawks, which coach Guy McKenna welcomed as another measure and test of their improvement. 

``To beat Geelong is a great experience for the lads,'' McKenna said on the club website.

``I have to milk that as much as I can going into that game against Hawthorn because you come up against an equally-talented, hard, drilled, premiership-contending side.

``We're going to have to play better again next week.''

Hawthorn churned out another big win of its own over Collingwood, its fourth in a row, despite continuing to miss key personnel.

Their crucial 29-point triumph earned them the praise of interim coach Brendon Bolton who lauded the Hawks' resilience.

Hawthorn is building towards its best 22, with midfielder Sam Mitchell expected back in the next few weeks and defender Ben Stratton likely to put his hand up to play Gold Coast on Saturday following the return of Brian Lake against the Magpies.

Ticket sales for the game have been good with increased interest expected this week.

A crowd in excess of 13,000 is anticipated with Tassie fans having the chance to see dual Brownlow Medallist and arguably the AFL's best player in Ablett in action along with rising stars Harley Bennell and Launceston's own Kade Kolodjashnij returning to play his first AFL game in his home state. 

The Hawks boast an imposing record at Aurora having won their past nine games straight and 16 of their last 17 at the venue.

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