Suns refuse to give up on Day
STUART Dew says a productive midweek conversation with Sam Day and the foundation Sun's response in the NEAFL on Saturday has him in contention for an AFL recall.
The out-of-contract forward has been languishing in the reserves for the opening six rounds prompting speculation he had fallen out of favour with Dew and his match committee and his future on the Gold Coast might be in doubt.
Dew has preferred state league signings Chris Burgess and Josh Corbett in the club's 3-3 start to the season.
But the second-year coach said Day, who was taken with pick three in the Suns' first draft in 2011, remained a key part of his plans.
Day had simply suffered from a slower start to his pre-season after shoulder surgery last year and Dew said he had been interested to discover how a new look forward line with Burgess, Corbett and No. 2 pick Jack Lukosius alongside mainstay Peter Wright would function.
"We've spoke to Sam about this a lot and we see him as an important player for us,'' Dew said.
"He had a slower start to the pre-season but his form has been building.
"And with the NEAFL four games in he is probably at the point where he is in contention.''
Day has been a standout in a struggling NEAFL side and produced a six-goal haul several weeks ago.
However, Dew said his most recent performance, where he booted three goals but also took several strong marks and gathered 17 possessions, had been his best.
"I had a good conversation with Sam last week about him imposing himself, he is a very unselfish player and that is well recognised but we need him to draw the footy more,'' he said.
"We were really pleased with his response to that, his attitude has been first class.
"He kicked six a few weeks ago, but I thought he had the most presence on the weekend.''
Day has always been a Mr Fixit for the Suns, whose key position players have historically not been resilient.
Last year in his return from 12 months out of the game following a sickening hip dislocation, Dew decided to let him settle in attack as he built his fitness and confidence after an injury that could have been career ending.
He kicked nine goals in 12 games before suffering another setback when he dislocated his shoulder.
But now he has a pre-season under his belt, Dew wants him to build on that versatility.
He has even played as a big-bodied midfielder in the NEAFL.
"We don't want to use him just as a forward, we think he can also play back,'' Dew said.