MICHAEL Barlow will take the mindset of a first-year player into his debut for the Suns against Brisbane on Sunday.
Both the Suns and Lions have picked their best available side for the precursor to the Round 1 QClash and will each unveil some new faces at Broadbeach Oval.
Barlow, former Lion Pearce Hanley and top-10 draftees Ben Ainsworth and Jack Bowes will play for the Suns while No.3 draft pick Hugh McCluggage and former Magpie Jack Frost are in Brisbane's side.
Barlow, a veteran of 129 games with the Dockers, was elevated straight into the Suns leadership group after joining the club as a free agent at the end of last season.
However, with David Swallow and Gary Ablett fit after two injury-ravaged years and the addition of Hanley and Jarryd Lyons from Adelaide, he says competition is hot for a permanent position in the midfield.
Ablett and Lyons are not available until later in the JLT series.
"Coming in as a new player, I don't see a cemented spot or anything," Barlow said.
"I am not taking anything for granted because I feel we have genuine depth in our side now.
"There's spots up for grabs. And it is pretty exciting, to be able to play in Gold Coast colours for the first time, I am very humbled by it because they have given me another opportunity."
The 29-year-old says he has always taken the pre-season matches seriously as a launching pad for a new season.
"Looking back on my career my first year in the system I knew I'd get an opportunity in the NAB Cup and that was make-or-break kind of stuff," he said.
"It wasn't necessarily going to pigeon hole you for the whole season but I always thought if you have a good NAB Cup back in the day, and now JLT, it puts you in really good stead for the year."
The Suns unveiled a new shorts sponsor with local Gold Coast plumbing supplies business Austworld signing on for two years. Austworld also have a strong presence in China where the Suns will make history this year when they play the first match for premiership points in Shanghai.
Meanwhile, the Lions have poached experienced recruiter Dom Ambrogio from the Suns to take over from Peter Schwab as list manager.
Ambrogio has been with the Suns since their inception.
Lions football manager David Noble said Ambrogio was a perfect fit for the club.
"He knows talent, he knows the system and he will bring the high level of experience we need in a list manager, especially at this stage of our development," he said.
The Courier Mail