Superstar Gary Ablett says Gold Coast made mistakes in the AFL club’s formative years which hindered the development of young players.
The two-time Brownlow medallist expects to see out his decorated AFL career on the tourist strip, despite persistent rumours of a return to Geelong, the club where he and his famous father and namesake remain revered figures.
The 32-year-old won’t play again in 2016 after suffering another serious shoulder injury – this time against Brisbane in round 16.
The injury-plagued Suns have long been out of finals contention this season and currently sit in fourth-last spot on the ladder with a 5-12 record.
In an interview aired on the Nine Network’s AFL Footy Show on Thursday night, Ablett stopped short of directly criticising ex-Suns coach Guy McKenna, who was replaced two season ago by the experienced Rodney Eade.
But he readily acknowledged that errors were made.
“I expected it to be tough,” Ablett said of the club he joined as foundation captain for the 2011 campaign.
“I feel early days we probably developed the boys the wrong way – in terms of what we were teaching them on the track and on the footy field.
“If you look at all the good sides, Hawthorn, Geelong, the teams that have had success over a long period of time, they do the basics of football well and I don’t think we were training the right drills.”
Ablett said he had never spoken to Cats officials about the prospect of a return to the club where he played a pivotal role in the 2007 and 2009 premiership campaigns.
“There has been a lot of hard work go into the last five or six years (at Gold Coast) and I want to be part of that success,” he said.
“I have so many great memories from the Geelong football club, they will always hold a special place in my heart, but I want to play finals football up there.
“We’re yet to play finals football (and) I thought we would have at least had a taste of it by now.”