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Gazza misses training but coach backs superstar's commitment

Lewis arrives, Yarran progress, Ablett delay A pre-season Footy Feed update

GOLD Coast superstar Gary Ablett was a notable absentee from the Suns' first official pre-season session at Metricon Stadium, but coach Rodney Eade said it had nothing to do with Ablett's desire to be at the club.

Ablett recently requested a trade back to Geelong but Eade said the dual Brownlow medallist was as committed as ever to the Suns.

Eade revealed the Suns skipper was not at training because he had been granted an extra week's leave to celebrate a delayed honeymoon with his wife.

Ablett has two years remaining on his contract, and when news surfaced last month he had inquired about a return to the Cats, Gold Coast quickly knocked it on the head.

Eade said he was not consulted about Ablett's request, but the midfielder's assistance in recruiting new players to the club was evidence enough he was fully invested.

"We're empathetic to Gary's situation," Eade said.

"We know he's got family (in Geelong) and there's things he's got to work through.

"He's totally committed and spoken to at least two of the players that were recruited to get them over the line.

"He's very comfortable with where he's at and he's looking forward to a big year.

"He spoke and texted to (Jarryd) Lyons, (Michael) Barlow and (Pearce) Hanley. He was part of the senior group that spoke to those players."

Ablett stayed at the club for three weeks post-season to rehab his shoulder following surgery, and then assisted with the player recruiting.

Eade said Ablett had texted the entire playing group about the story.

"It was quite a well-worded one and quite long, so they're (players) very comfortable that he's committed," he said.

While Ablett will return to training next Monday, the remainder of the squad started its pre-season on the Suns' training field.

Eade said there were a number of reasons to be excited about 2017.

He said the club's recruiting had been strong in the off-season, the addition of four top-10 picks in Friday's NAB AFL Draft and an improved run of luck with injury should all result in a strong season.