AAP AFL

Young Sun embracing Tigers challenge

By AAP Newswire

Rookie Gold Coast forward Brayden Crossley has turned the tables on Richmond, challenging the defending AFL premiers to prove themselves on the road in a game he is too excited about to be daunted by.

Richmond are flying at the top of the ladder while the Suns are staggering through another mediocre season with news of Tom Lynch's impending departure still fresh.

Crossley, 18, will return from a fractured cheekbone to replace Peter Wright (knee) as the Suns' lone tall forward on Saturday at Metricon Stadium, where the visitors are hot $1.03 favourites.

Likely to line up against star Tigers fullback Alex Rance, Crossley could be forgiven for feeling a certain amount of trepidation in what will be just his eighth game at the top level.

But instead he used the word "excited" 10 times in under four minutes when addressing media on Friday and even squeezed in a sledge of the heavy favourites who haven't won interstate in 2018.

"No (not daunted), really excited. They've had four interstate trips this year and they haven't won yet," he said.

"West Coast probably tarnished their past couple of years with how they've travelled and Richmond have been branded a bit like that this year. It's been well noted."

The Tigers are 15-4 and in another stratosphere compared to the 4-15 Suns this season.

But Stuart Dew's side can at least boast success away from home in 2018.

And the Tigers won't be taking any chances to ensure the four-game losing run on the road ends on Saturday with Dion Prestia (rib), Bachar Houli (groin), Jack Graham (shoulder) and Nathan Broad (calf) all named to play the 17th-placed side.

However, form ruckman Toby Nankervis (quad) won't make the trip north so Ivan Soldo is poised to make his season debut.

The Suns will be bolstered by the return of captain Steven May from suspension, while David Swallow (concussion) and Rory Thompson (hamstring) are also fit to play.

Tigers assistant coach Justin Leppitsch admitted the ruckman's absence was part of his management ahead of September's finals.

"If it was a grand final tomorrow, would he play? Probably yes, but we just think how important he is to us," he said.

"He's probably the only one that we would afford that luxury to."