Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett will be surprised if the Suns don’t do all they can to retain off-contract pair Jaeger O’Meara and Dion Prestia.
Ablett says he’s spoken to both players about their future, and while he himself isn’t putting them under any pressure, he’s expecting the AFL club to push hard to re-sign the midfielders.
O’Meara made a successful return from a career-threatening knee injury last weekend with a half for the club’s reserves – his first taste of football since rupturing a patella tendon in April last year.
Both the 22-year-old and ball-magnet Prestia have been linked with a move to a Melbourne-based club as their contract talks with the Suns have stalled.
Ablett says there’s no doubt in his mind both players are integral to the Suns’ future however.
“We want those guys hanging around this football club,” Ablett said.
“They’re valued around the club and they’re a big part of this football side.
“I know for Jaeger it was about getting back and playing a few games first before they started talking contracts. I don’t know what’s happening with Dion.
“I’m sure the club’s pushing hard and hopefully we can get both those guys locked away in the next month or so.”
Ablett himself is showing signs of getting back to the sort of form which made the dual Brownlow Medallist the best player in the game for several seasons.
After injury-plagued seasons in 2014 and 2015, many were questioning whether the 32-year-old could recapture his best after a lukewarm start to this season.
Ablett admits he was short of run after failing to feature in any of the Suns’ pre-season fixtures but after a season-best display against Hawthorn in Tasmania, the midfield general backed that up with another hard-running performance in a 40-point win over St Kilda on Saturday.
“I won’t go into detail but there was a few injuries that were restricting me from doing that earlier in the season but I’m getting on top of them now and feeling good,” Ablett said when asked about regaining the ability to run through packs with the ball in recent weeks.