Gary Ablett has stood down as Gold Coast’s captain for the 2017 AFL season.
The under-siege star, who requested a release from the club earlier this year and missed the beginning of the Suns’ pre-season on a delayed honeymoon, said a decision had been made at the end of last season.
“I feel it is the right time for a change, both for the club and for me,” he said in a statement.
He said he had met with Suns coach Rodney Eade, where it was agreed the team’s younger stars were ready to take over the leadership of the team.
“When I got injured last season, we handed the role over to Tom Lynch and Steven May and both guys, with the help of their teammates, did an outstanding job,” Ablett said.
“It became obvious to me then that we now have the calibre of leaders that are capable of leading the footy club into our next phase.”
Ablett told the Gold Coast playing group of his decision to relinquish the duties on Tuesday, just a week after former Gold Coast defender Campbell Brown claimed some of the 32-year-old’s teammates were disgrunted he had missed the first few days of training.
However Eade paid tribute to Ablett’s leadership since the club’s foundation in 2011.
“Gary and I agreed on a transition a couple of months ago but it was appropriate that he tell his teammates first,” Eade said.
“As a club we have had some time to think through the process and we will be in a position to appoint a captain in the coming weeks.”