Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett says he can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Suns after signing a three-year contract extension with the AFL club.
The dual Brownlow Medallist ended months of speculation over his future on Tuesday by confirming he had signed a deal to keep him at the Suns until the end of the 2018 season.
Given Ablett will be 34 at the end of the 2018 campaign, it’s likely the deal will be the superstar midfielder’s last.
The former Geelong premiership star joined the Suns as their marquee signing in 2010 ahead of their inaugural season in the AFL.
After playing 192 games for the Cats, Ablett has gone on to make 78 appearances for the Suns.
In 2013 Ablett added a second Brownlow Medal to his 2009 success, cementing his status as the game’s leading player.
Ablett, who has been sidelined for an indefinite period just two games into the season after his return from a shoulder reconstruction, said he never had any intentions of leaving the Suns.
“I’m rapt to have re-committed to the Gold Coast,” Ablett said.
“For some time, I had indicated to the club and my management that I wanted to extend my contract with the Suns
“When I joined the Gold Coast Suns, I was aware it would be a responsibility and privilege to play a role in forming a new club, in an expansion market for our great game. But I never anticipated the ride to be so fulfilling.”
Among Ablett’s aims for the term of his new deal will be delivering finals football for the Suns, who are yet to make the top eight in their four completed seasons.
This year’s hopes look slim after an 0-3 start but Ablett says he’s confident the club has the potential for future success.
“I am proud of what we have achieved so far off the field, and I know that with hard work, we are capable of achieving so much more on-field in the future, and that’s why I have re-committed to the Suns,” he said.
“We still have plenty of work ahead of us, but I strongly believe that we have the right people in place to take our club forward.”
Suns chief executive Andrew Travis said the news was a huge plus for the club.
“To confirm the Gold Coast has secured one of the competition’s most recognisable and best players for a further three seasons sends a strong message that we are all committed to achieving success,” Travis said.
“What shouldn’t be overlooked is that Gary’s new deal is a huge vote of confidence in our program, our coaches, his teammates and the direction of the club.”