SUNS FAVOURITE: Michael Rischitelli is back with the Gold Coast after a long injury lay-off.
SUNS FAVOURITE: Michael Rischitelli is back with the Gold Coast after a long injury lay-off. DAVE HUNT

Rischitelli back in Suns line-up after long injury lay-off

INAUGURAL Gold Coast Suns midfielder Michael Rischitelli has received a crucial vote of support for his future at the club ahead of his long-awaited AFL return.

The 31-year-old last played at the top level on July 9, 2016, when he suffered an ACL knee injury against his former team Brisbane. His absence from the spotlight will end with his call-up to take on Collingwood at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.

Rischitelli last month made a successful return to the field via Gold Coast's NEAFL side.

Coach Rodney Eade said the off-contract veteran will bring with him much-needed experience and backed him to stay on in 2018 for an eighth season in Suns colours.

"The way he has trained and the way he has come back and he's a bit of a soul of the place - I would think there is a future for him no doubt," Eade said.

"I would have thought that it would be a year-by-year situation but certainly from my point of view I think he has got a bit to offer and he'd play next year."

In more good news, Pearce Hanley and Aaron Hall both passed fitness tests yesterday to ensure they will take part in the must-win clash against the 15th-placed Magpies.

Superstar Gary Ablett was also named after completing some training yesterday but a call will be made on his chances of overcoming a hamstring injury after a fitness test today.

Eade said having an influx of older heads will significantly boost their bid to bounce back from a last-start 67-point thumping at the hands of Sydney.

"There's no doubt about our three bad losses where we have crumbled is probably the tipping point of the age of the group," he said.

"When things get tough in that situation, we tend to look for experience around and it's not there, so that will certainly help."