Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield (left) competes with Suns player Gary Ablett.
Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield (left) competes with Suns player Gary Ablett. DAVE HUNT

Time for Suns to let Ablett leave

GARY Ablett sounded like a man with one foot out the door.

The 33-year-old champion had just claimed his fourth Gold Coast Suns best-and-fairest award when took the stage to deliver an acceptance speech.

It was a remarkable achievement - claiming the award off just 14 games after he was dogged by calf and hamstring injuries - that says volumes for both his own talent even in advancing years and the lack of depth at the Suns.

But you could have been mistaken for thinking it was part farewell speech.

"I've got a lot to think about over the next couple of weeks," he said.

"The plan is to get away from the pressures of football, go and spend some time with my family, who are all based in Victoria, so I'm looking forward to getting down there and talking through some things.

"I've been in the game 16 years now and it is a very demanding sport so I need to work out what that next step is.

"I just want to be clear I love this football club, I've been here for seven years and it has been such a big part of my life for a long time.

"I think as you get older, I have some other things going on in my life that I need to start prioritising, so they are some of the things I need to start talking through.

"I'm sure that's something we'll work out over the next couple of weeks."

It's no secret Ablett had inquired about a trade back to Geelong at the end of the 2016 season. It's where he grew up, hanging around the clubrooms while dad Gary Snr became a living legend, before spending the first nine years of his own AFL playing career.

Under contract, the Suns knocked him back.

But the writing is very much on the wall and Ablett may seek a similar request. Despite having another year to run on his contract, Gold Coast should this time allow him to leave.

Of course, it will all have to be at the right price, with trade value and finances sure to be a sticking point. The Suns have after all effectively paid him about $500,000 in advance for next season.

Figuratively, Ablett owes the Suns nothing after outstanding service. They should do the right thing by him.

And while even the Cats' greatest rivals would shudder at the prospect of a Gary Ablett-Patrick Dangerfield-Joel Selwood midfield, what a story, what a homecoming it would be for season 2018.

The Suns, meanwhile, need to move and think about the long-term future.

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