Gold Coast expect captain Gary Ablett to take on St Kilda in Saturday’s first AFL home match of 2015 despite the superstar battling soreness in his rebuilt left shoulder.
Ablett grimaced several times during last weekend’s disappointing round one loss to Melbourne in what was his first match for the Suns since dislocating his shoulder against Collingwood last July.
Suns rehabilitation coach Matthew Kennedy confirmed the dual Brownlow Medallist still needed to be managed but there was no doubt he should be fit to play the Saints at Metricon Stadium.
“Gary obviously played on the weekend and got into some fairly comprising positions in different tackles and contact that was made early, mid and late in the game,” Kennedy told the Suns’ website.
“He did come out a little sore which we expected … but we just need to manage that really closely, ensure that we do the right things early in the week so he can get his strength into him later in the week to maintain that strength around the area.
“He was a little sore, but happy that he got through. He just needs to be carefully managed, particularly in this early part of the season.
“One game over, onwards and upwards for the skipper.”
Kennedy said injured pair Danny Stanley (quad) and Charlie Dixon (ankle) are close to full fitness but won’t be available for Saturday.
Stanley is a possibility to come into the frame for selection for the round three fixture away at Geelong while tall forward Dixon is aiming to play some time in the Suns’ reserves in a couple of weeks.
Kennedy added Jack Leslie had been given the all-clear after being rushed to hospital after falling on his head during a practice match for the club’s reserves last weekend.
The game was the same one where Jaeger O’Meara ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee, ending his season before it even began.
Kennedy says the 2013 Rising Star winner faces a long road to recovery but has backed the 21-year-old to come back as good as ever.
“Extremely disappointing all-round as a footy club but we’ll support as best we can and he’ll come back in absolute cherry-ripe condition,” he said.
“The kid’s made of pretty good stuff and I’m sure he’ll be fine.”