He might be a touch underdone but Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett will lead the Suns out in round one of the AFL season, declaring himself over a foot complaint that has dogged his pre-season.
The two-time Brownlow Medallist says overall conditioning is now a bigger concern than his foot just nine days out from their season-opener with Essendon.
In the absence of any NAB Challenge matches, Ablett stepped up his fitness work.
“I was having some problems just under my big toe,” he said.
“It was a little frustrating because I wanted to play a couple of NAB Challenge games.
“The foot will be fine. I might be a bit underdone but I don’t think that will affect my game too much.”
Ablett only played six matches in the Suns’ horror 2015 season, plagued by a shoulder injury that cost him 11 matches and a knee complaint that ended his year after round 17.
The 31-year-old confirmed he was a likely candidate to spend more time in the forward line this season but that decision will come down to new laws rather than his body.
“With a cap on the rotations, you’re not going to see players rotating as much (and) they’ll probably have to play a lot of different positions,” he said.
“There’s no doubt I’ll play more down forward this year.
“The body is still feeling good. I’m ready to go and I’ll hopefully start in the midfield round one.”
Ablett’s role isn’t all that’s changing at the Suns, with expectations up again.
“We believe we’re ready to play finals footy,” he said.
“We’re going to get a lot of guys back from injury. We probably had 10 of our best 22 players out last year.
“Jaeger O’Meara. Dion Prestia. David Swallow. That’s three of our starting mids.
“Any side has that many players out; it’s going to make it tough.
Ablett said Swallow might not be seen until round five or six after completing “50 to 60” per cent of a pre-season before suffering a knee injury.