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NEAFL: Ling to return for hot Suns clash

NEAFL Preview - Rd2, 2019 Assistant Development Coach Lloyd Perris speaks to Swans TV ahead of the Gold Coast clash.
It’s been pretty inspiring to see Matt Ling's attitude throughout his recovery from injury, so the boys are absolutely rapt to know he’s back playing. He’ll be on limited game time, but the boys are really rapt to have him back. He’s a favourite of all of us.
Lloyd Perris

Sydney Swans fans have seen very little of first-round 2017 draft pick Matt Ling, but they’ll receive another glimpse of the exciting prospect as he runs out for his first game in almost a year on Sunday morning.

Ling will complete his comeback from a broken toe as Sydney does battle with the Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium in Round 2.

The speedster arrived at the Swans in November 2017 alongside Geelong Falcons teammate Tom McCartin, but he’d spend the majority of the season in the stands as his close mate tackled 15 games in the AFL.

Ling, who will turn 20 in less than a fortnight’s time, hasn’t played a game since Sydney’s NEAFL side met the Brisbane Lions on May 26, 2018.

But his wait is over and Sydney development coach Lloyd Perris says his teammates couldn’t be happier.

“He went down with the injury and had a lot of setbacks along the way. It was only supposed to be a six-month recovery process, but he’s had a lot of setbacks to get where he is now. He’s a very popular player amongst the playing group. The way he has attacked his rehab is a huge credit to him,” Perris told SwansTV.

“It’s been pretty inspiring to see his attitude throughout it all, so the boys are absolutely rapt to know he’s back playing. He’ll be on limited game time, but the boys are really rapt to have him back. He’s a favourite of all of us.”

From AFL-gamers James Rose, Lewis Melican and Colin O’Riordan, to up-and-coming QBE Sydney Swans Academy stars Kyle McKellar, Rory Barkley and Cooper Kilpatrick, Sydney’s NEAFL outfit will again draw from a wide range of players in the Gold Coast clash. 

Sydney is set for its first road trip of the season after taking on GWS in Homebush in last Saturday’s season-opener, and Perris said the Queensland visit would do his side the world of good.

“One of the benefits of playing in the NEAFL is travelling together as a team, especially as we have a lot of young guys, new players and Academy players,” Perris said.

“So to get everyone together and travel up to the Gold Coast is a really good opportunity to strengthen our relationships and build new relationships in the team.”

Gold Coast, along with Sydney, GWS and the Brisbane Lions, is one of four AFL clubs playing in the 10-team NEAFL competition, and Perris expects the Suns to pose a fierce challenge.

“They’ve got a lot of AFL-listed players at the moment,” Perris said.

“They’ve got some quality, experienced midfielders with Aaron Young and Michael Rischitelli, and then there’s Tom Nicolls in the ruck. They’re a quality outfit and we expect them to come at us really strongly.”

Who: Gold Coast Suns v Sydney Swans

Where: Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast

When: Sunday, 10:45am

Round: 2

To tune in to the live stream click HERE.

Sydney Swans team:

B: 33. R Stoddart 43. L Melican 50. K Veerhuis
HB: 19. M Ling 38. C O’Riordan 31. H Reynolds
C: 32. J Bell 4. R Clarke 16. Z Foot
HF: 8. J Rowbottom 47. T Pink 45. S Wicks
F: 46. J Amartey 60. H Mclean 49. C Kilpatrick
R: 17. D Cameron 1. J Rose 42. R Fox
Int: 51. R Barkley 53. K McKellar 52. J Pawle 58. P Roseby
Emer: 54. C Wilson 55. Z Youlten