Forget the speculation, Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett is a 100 per cent certain starter for the Suns’ AFL season opener against Essendon.
At least, that’s the word of Suns coach Rodney Eade.
The dual Brownlow Medallist hasn’t been seen once during the Suns’ pre-season campaign, prompting many to question his recovery from the shoulder injury which had derailed his 2015 season.
Eade, however, says there’s nothing wrong with the talismanic midfielder despite Ablett again being overlooked for selection for Friday’s final pre-season match against Adelaide.
The Suns’ coach says Ablett will lead the team out in round one against the understrength Bombers on March 26 at Metricon Stadium.
“100 per cent, he’ll certainly play,” Eade said.
“He’s running and could possibly have played Friday, but we felt like he needed another week.
“He’ll certainly play round one.”
Ablett isn’t the only absence from the Suns’ midfield against the Crows.
Jesse Lonergan (ankle), Dion Prestia (knee), Jaeger O’Meara (knee) and David Swallow (knee) are also sidelined from the clash.
Eade says he’s not fearful of another injury-plagued season derailing the Suns’ hopes of a maiden finals berth.
“We knew that even though David and Jaeger were tracking well, we knew they wouldn’t be playing round one, so that’s not an issue,” he said.
“Dion’s had a hiccup, but he’ll be fine. People can read into that.
“I think what last year’s done is that (Aaron) Hall and Lonergan have stepped up, so they’ll be able to replace them, so we’re fairly comfortable with our midfield.”