It might have come as a shock to fans but Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade says he’s well advanced in his plans to replace Gary Ablett as the Suns’ captain.
Ablett confirmed last week he was stepping down as the AFL club’s captain after an injury-plagued past two seasons.
The 32-year-old had earlier requested a release from the club and missed the beginning of the Suns’ pre-season on a delayed honeymoon.
Eade says Ablett’s intention to step down had been clear since the player’s end-of-season review in August.
“We sat down and had a chat at the end of August as part of his review … he spoke to me then that he’d like to step down,” he said.
“Obviously he thought it was a good idea, not just for himself, but for the team.
“So we’ve had a good three months … I’ve done a lot of work internally and hopefully by Christmas we’ll be able to announce something.”
Forward Tom Lynch and defender Steven May are the frontrunners to replace Ablett.
Both led the team towards the end of last season with Ablett injured and Eade confirmed they were ahead of their teammates in the reckoning.
The prospect of the pair being named co-captains has been mooted but Eade admits it’s a concept he’s not a huge fan of.
“I’m always one that hasn’t been sold on the idea, to be honest,” he said.
“Maybe that’s old school, but it has been successful at Sydney; GWS have got it at the moment. It’s something that’s been discussed and talked about internally.”
Eade on Monday unveiled former St Kilda, Sydney and Western Bulldogs forward Barry Hall as a specialist coach for the club.
Hall, who was coached by Eade at the Swans and Bulldogs, will work with the club’s key position players such as Lynch and May on a part-time basis next season.
He said having the opportunity to help the Suns’ talent achieve their potential is exciting but it wasn’t being seen as a stepping stone into a more full-time coaching job in the future.
“These blokes (coaches) are mad, seriously,” Hall said.
“I love the game. I love the specialist coaching part. I love working with young people, which probably shows my immaturity … guiding them in places where I didn’t get guided when I was a bit younger.
“It’s a part I really enjoy and when you actually see them do something that you’ve told them to do, it gives you a little bit of a feeling.”