Ablett helping Suns to shine
FORMER Geelong superstar Gary Ablett has won multiple premierships and a Brownlow Medal but insists he isn't worried that his playing days might be over by the time the Gold Coast Suns become a genuine force in the AFL.
The 27-year-old is about to begin his second season on a five-year contract with the Suns.
"I'm not worried at all and not even thinking long-term," Ablett said.
"I'm here to make the Gold Coast the most successful club it can be and hopefully we can win some premierships before my time is up.
"But if it isn't to be I hope the boys can go on and do something special after."
Ablett was joined by former Brisbane Broncos fullback Karmichael Hunt and the rest of the Suns team as the AFL club made another serious attempt to promote the game on the Northern Rivers - a region more dominated by rugby league and soccer.
Ablett and Hunt took part in coaching clinics and signed autographs for kids at Ballina High School on Sunday afternoon.
"We had about 250 kids turn up and we were pretty happy with that," Ablett said.
"It's hard to know what kind of impact we're making and only time will tell.
"I'd love to keep coming down this way and the feedback has been pretty positive so far."
Ablett also made an appearance at the Alstonville Post Office yesterday afternoon.
The Suns captain is one of eight sporting stars selected from the four football codes to have his own stamp with Australia Post this season.
"It's a pretty big deal and not something you expect to happen when you first start playing the game," he said.
"It's pretty exciting and something I'm sure I'll look back on when I finish my career."
Ablett has enjoyed his move to the Gold Coast and has been able to escape the constant Melbourne media coverage.
"I wouldn't say it was hard to adjust," he said.
"I enjoy being able to walk down the streets and not be noticed.
"But our aim is to get out there and grow the game wherever we can and to have 15,000 members at the club in our first year is a pretty good effort."
The move to the Gold Coast has also meant less time spent with his family and legendary father Gary Ablett senior.
"I don't get to see them very often but that was part of the move," Ablett said.
"I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and they've always been supportive.
"We had so many new faces at the club last season and I think we all know each other now.
"Every day we're improving and maturing as a football club."