Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett is confident his problematic shoulder will recover enough for him to lead the Suns to the promised land of an AFL premiership.
In what is likely to be his last contract, the dual Brownlow medallist committed to the Suns until the end of the 2018 campaign by signing a three-year extension on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old says he never really considered leaving the Suns despite negotiations taking six months, and he’s determined to get back to playing finals football.
The former Geelong star’s last AFL finals appearance was his last game for Cats in a 2010 preliminary final.
Ablett says he still believes the Suns will become premiership contenders despite their 0-3 start to the 2015 campaign suggesting there’s still plenty of work to do with their playing group.
“That’s a very big part of why I’ve signed on because I do see a very bright future,” he said.
“I want to help the football club win a premiership. That’s why we exist, why we’re here and super excited about jumping into that.
“Three years is plenty. That’s enough time to win a premiership and that’s what I’m here to do.”
Ablett’s re-signing may be exciting news for the Suns but it comes with question marks over the skipper’s long-term future.
Ablett’s comeback from the shoulder surgery which ended his 2014 campaign in July lasted just two matches before the superstar had to be rested indefinitely to allow his injured limb to heal.
The man himself admits he probably rushed back too soon and was only about 70 per cent fit when he played against Melbourne and St Kilda.
His output was well below his normal stellar levels and, most disturbingly, Ablett could only manage one tackle in those two matches.
Despite those concerns, Ablett says he will get back to his best and he’s not far away from making a return.
“The body still feels good, it’s obviously just the shoulder that’s restricted me from doing things that I’ve been able to do in previous years,” he said.
“That’s why I’ve made the decision, and the club’s made the decision, just to focus on my rehab work for now, get it right and when I do come back I can get back to that level of football.
“I believe I can.”