GARY Ablett will play in round one, his Gold Coast teammate Michael Rischitelli says.
Ablett was a late withdrawal from Wednesday's captains’ day in Melbourne, heightening speculation about his availability for the Suns' season opener against Melbourne on April 4.
But Rischitelli, who fronted the media in place of his absent skipper, was confident Ablett would be fully recovered from the shoulder surgery that halted his 2014 season seven weeks before its conclusion.
"I think he'll be right for round one at this stage," Rischitelli said.
"All going well he should be sweet."
Ablett has not played a match during the NAB Challenge and has often trained with the orange 'no contact' cap on at Gold Coast training.
But Rischitelli said Ablett had trained strongly in the past few weeks and given every indication he would time his run to perfection.
"Coming up to game one, all the training he needs to get done is pretty crucial, so that's why I'm here," he said.
"He's done everything. He's done a few 'praccy' (intraclub) matches, his shoulder has been coping well with it.
"The club's happy with where he's at and he's happy with where he's at.
"It's the back end of a pretty big injury, he wants to make sure it gets all right and gets back to where it needs to be."
While Ablett is increasingly likely to start the season, former NAB Rising Star winner Jaeger O'Meara almost certainly won't.
O'Meara had radical off-season surgery to both knees and has taken a slow rehabilitation process, but trained strongly in recent weeks.
He has not missed a match in his first two seasons, but Rischitelli says that 44-game unbroken run will come to an end.
"At his age (21) you don’t want to throw him back in the deep end too quick," Rischitelli said.
"I reckon he'll be unlikely to be round one. With his age you don't want to risk him. He's going to be around for a few years to come, so we'll take a cautious approach with Jaeger."