The Courier-Mail

Young Suns start to question Ablett over injury

- SAM EDMUND

GOLD Coast’s young stars are becoming concerned over the extended absence of captain Gary Ablett, whose return from a shoulder injury could still be another month away.

Suns coach Rodney Eade admitted over the weekend that Ablett’s teammates had approached the Brownlow Medallist for clarity.

Ablett’s comeback was aborted after Round 2 and he has taken longer than expected to overcome last year’s shoulder reconstruc­tion.

Sources yesterday said the club’s younger players had started to push for answers, with some of the view Ablett should be playing – even if he’s not quite 100 per cent – to combat a massive injury list.

The superstar on-baller is refusing to take painkillin­g injections to combat the first major injury of his career and has only used anti-inflammato­ries sparingly.

The best player in the competitio­n when fit, there are suggestion­s Ablett is sweating on the perfect recovery and doesn’t want to play at a level below the lofty one he has set.

But Gold Coast football manager Marcus Ashcroft was yesterday adamant Ablett wasn’t ready and risked aggravatin­g the joint again if he played too soon.

Collingwoo­d captain Scott Pendlebury last month said that he and Ablett underwent similar operations and that the pair had discussed whether they were “too safe” with the start of their recovery periods. The Magpie star has gone on to play every game this season.

Ablett’s prolonged absence yesterday prompted Matthew Lloyd to ask on Channel 9: “Is the tail still wagging the dog there at the Gold Coast?”

Nathan Brown said: “Reading between the lines, what everybody is talking about but not really saying is, he’s right to go but he doesn’t want to play. Is that right?”

Eade, speaking before Saturday’s loss to Hawthorn in Launceston, said players had started approachin­g Ablett.

“I’ve spoken to him individual­ly and certainly some players, as teammates, have spoken to him and are really keen to get him back because they rate him so highly... but rate him as a leader and obviously love his presence on the field,” Eade told 3AW.

“He’s doing very well at training and his voice is fantastic, but it’s nothing like being on the ground. I would think, hopefully at worst, it (return) will be the game after the bye.”

Ablett last week resumed contact training and got through fine, according to Ashcroft.

“It’s frustratin­g for everyone because we keep saying 2-4 weeks, but we really don’t know any different because we have to assess him each week,” Ashcroft said. “The doctors and Gaz are on the same page. I guess everyone can make the assumption (that Ablett could play now), but that’s not the case.

“We want to make sure that when he comes back he plays the rest of the year and doesn’t come back and it gets irritated again and he misses a game. That’s the last thing we want.”

The Suns are languishin­g in 17th spot at 1-8 and face daunting assignment­s against flag contenders Sydney and Fremantle before their bye in Round 12.

 ??  ?? LOOKING FIT: Gary Ablett at training as he recovers from shoulder work. Picture: Scott Fletcher
LOOKING FIT: Gary Ablett at training as he recovers from shoulder work. Picture: Scott Fletcher

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