Russell aims to keep Suns' new standard shining

GOLD Coast set a new standard in its win over Geelong on Saturday - one that it must maintain if it is to compete with the reigning premiers on Saturday.

That's the opinion of the Suns' Tasmanian forward Luke Russell, who said the triumph over the Cats was a "huge" moment for the expansion club.

"It's a win that will give us lots of confidence and a lot of belief," the 22-year-old from Burnie said.

"We really put that physical pressure on them and were rewarded, and as a club we've got together and said `this is our standard'.

"We now feel we have the confidence to take on the top teams and it has to be like this for the rest of the year."

It is a standard that the club needs to apply not only at home but interstate, especially at "foreign" locations such as Launceston's Aurora Stadium.

Russell, who sits 12th on the club's all-time games played list with 54, said he believed the 99-point margin between the two teams in round four at Metricon Stadium was not a clear reflection of a tough game, and he was confident that it would be a closer affair on Saturday.

"Hawthorn are always going to be tough to beat and we really respect them as we know what they've done, but we're really excited to have another crack at them.

"One of our strengths this year has been our contested ball and we really need to be able to match them in the midfield. If you win the contested ball and the tackles, you give yourself the best chance of winning the game."

Russell, drafted to the Suns as 17-year-old pre-draft selection in 2010, has played 11 games this year as a forward after playing in defence and on the wing last season.

He is averaging 12 touches, three marks and two tackles a game and has kicked 6.3, including being the sub twice.

"I know my role in the team and am very happy with the way I'm going, but consistency for me is the big thing and I'm loving the challenge.

"To play my 50th earlier in the year was a great feeling and I'm very grateful to have been able to play my footy up here on the Gold Coast."

Russell said he was "excited" to play in his home state as an AFL player for the second time, having collected 12 possessions in the Suns' only visit to Launceston in 2011.

Parents Stephen and Judy and brother Thomas will be among the family contingent in the crowd.

Luke Russell celebrates a goal for Gold Coast.

Luke Russell celebrates a goal for Gold Coast.


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