NOW free of captaincy duties, and with the success of his recent shoulder surgery, Gary Ablett is convinced he has plenty of good footy ahead.
Ablett's 2016 season was cut short in round 16 when he dislocated his left shoulder for a second time in two years.
But unlike the 2014 keyhole procedure that took him almost 12 months to fully overcome, Ablett is significantly more advanced this time around.
He underwent the invasive latarjet procedure and it's worked a treat.
In consultation with his specialist and club doctors, Ablett had the shoulder mobile two weeks after surgery and is already able to lift it above his head.
Two years ago he kept it immobilised for eight weeks and the mobility took a long time to return.
Although Ablett won't resume contact work until after Christmas, he says he'll be fully fit by round one unless there's another setback.
"My body's feeling really good. I'm really happy with where it's at," Ablett said.
"It's feeling strong. I haven't got my full range back yet, but I'm confident I'll have that back in the next couple of months.
"I'm not just saying that, my body is feeling really good.
"I feel like I've got plenty of (good) footy left in the body."
Ablett stepped down as Gold Coast's captain earlier in the week and said one of his primary reasons was to concentrate on getting his body right again.
He's played just 20 of the Suns' past 50 games, following two shoulder and one knee surgery.
The champion midfielder has played 288 games in his stellar 15-season career, but admitted it had been tough of late.
"The first 13, 14 years of my career I didn't really have an injury," he said.
"The thing with all the injuries, they've all been impact, collision-type injuries; it's not like it's soft tissue injuries where the body's breaking down on me.
"I've done all the work in the gym and I felt great going into last season, but unfortunately the shoulder went on me again."
Despite having two years to run on his contract, Ablett said he was uncertain whether he would play beyond 2017, saying he would weigh up his personal life, his body, his own form and the team's progress when sitting down at the end of the year to make a decision.