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Ablett on track to feature in NAB Challenge

Rodney Eade watches on during the Suns' pool session - ${keywords}
Rodney Eade watches on during the Suns' pool session
His fitness levels are fantastic at the moment compared to what he's been in the past, he's gone to another level
Rodney Eade on Gary Ablett
GARY Ablett is close to resuming full contact work on his injured left shoulder and is on track to play two NAB Challenge matches, says Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade.
 
Ablett has been setting the pre-season track alight as he recovers from the dislocated shoulder that cut his 2014 season seven weeks short, but is yet to undergo the contact test.
 
However, Eade said the dual Brownlow medallist was close to giving it a full hit-out.
 
"He had a bit of a watershed weekend where he extended his shoulder a bit more. I'd imagine in a couple of weeks he'll be in full contact," Eade said.
 
"His fitness levels are fantastic at the moment compared to what he's been in the past, he's gone to another level.
 
"I think that's a credit to his professionalism."
 
Despite entering his 14th season in the AFL, Ablett recently set a new 2km personal best in a club time trial.
 
He has become increasingly more involved in match-simulated training, although wearing an orange cap that denotes he's not to be touched.
 
Eade said every fit player would get a chance during the pre-season competition.
 
He suggested the less established players would get the first crack against Geelong on March 1, before the more experienced players returned for matches against GWS (March 7) and the Brisbane Lions (March 20).
 
"He'll play," Eade said of Ablett.
 
"There's only the three (matches) so he'll be like the older players, they'll pick what they need to do, so probably a game-and-a-half.
 
"I can't imagine any player playing all three games."
 
Young midfielder Jaeger O'Meara is also recovering strongly from post-season surgery on both knees and will resume running on Monday.
 
Eade said O'Meara had been performing strongly in the gym and had done some plyometric jumping up-and-down the Metricon Stadium steps to test the knees.
 
"He's a bit of a freak athletically, his recovery has been enormous," Eade said.
 
"It won't take long to pick his fitness up either, he does work hard."
 
The Suns will undertake an orienteering and leadership training program on Saturday at an army base in the Gold Coast hinterland.
 
Eade said they would name their leadership group next week.
 
Jaeger O'Meara during the Suns' pool session on Friday. Picture: AFL Media