Gold Coast needs to hold its ground on Ablett trade

Maddy Friend Columnist

By Maddy Friend, Maddy Friend is a Roar Expert

 , , ,

86 Have your say

    The AFL’s worst-kept secret has been confirmed – prodigal son Gary Ablett has requested a trade from the Gold Coast to allow him to return to Geelong next year.

    While it’s nearly a foregone conclusion that a deal to allow this to happen will get done, Gold Coast needs to play hardball.

    Ablett’s departure would be the most recent in a series of player exoduses from the struggling expansion club – over the past several years, In the past two years alone, Gold Coast has lost Harley Bennell, Jaeger O’Meara, Dion Prestia, Charlie Dixon and Zac Smith, all of whom command starting positions in their current AFL teams.

    The club also looks set to lose Adam Saad to Essendon (for family reasons) in the upcoming trade period.

    Losing Ablett, a former captain, would arguably be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Many column inches have been devoted to the travails plaguing Gold Coast since its inception – poor culture, lack of professionalism, sub-standard facilities, and an environment more conducive to partying and surfing than hard work.

    Gary Ablett Geelong Cats AFL

    (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

    While the loss of Prestia and O’Meara last year set the club back several years in its development, Ablett’s departure both further compounds the on-field lack of class and the off-field lack of professionalism and culture.

    Just what his market value is, exactly, is hard to place. On one hand, Ablett is 33, with a bung shoulder that has restricted him to 14 games in each of the past two seasons.

    On the other, he is still a best 22 player at every other club (I’d take two years of Ablett football over most other players in the competition), and won the club’s best and fairest this season – from 14 games. That probably tells the tale of Gold Coast’s current on-field situation.

    At Gold Coast, he would likely split his time between the midfield and forward line, while at Geelong one imagines he will play nearly exclusively as a forward, perhaps venturing into the midfield to relieve Paddy Dangerfield at times.

    His ability to kick 60 goals in a season playing as a medium forward would be priceless to a team (Geelong) trying to bridge the gap from preliminary finalist to grand finalist, while he remains Gold Coast’s classiest player by a fair way.

    The club has resigned itself to Ablett’s loss, but that doesn’t mean it has to accept a sub-standard deal for him. Gold Coast chairman Tony Cochrane publicly declared last year that O’Meara would not be traded, before the club relented and traded him to the Hawks on the very last day of trade period.

    The club managed to extract pick ten from the Hawks, but it was on the principle of the matter where Gold Coast lost out – despite its hardline statements, Gold Coast has a habit of relenting and eventually trading those players. Everyone in the AFL world knows that Ablett will not be at the Gold Coast next year – he’ll either retire or be playing in the white and blue hoops.

    However, the club has (rightly) made it clear to clubs seeking to lure players away from the Gold Coast that it will not be letting them go without getting something in return.

    Gary Ablett Junior Gold Coast Suns AFL 2016

    (AAP Image/Jason O’Brien)

    So, what does a reasonable outcome look like? Ablett is still a contracted player (he has a year remaining), and so Gold Coast hold the upper hand in any negotiations with Geelong. Gold Coast’s opening ambit claim has been to demand either Mitch Duncan or Nakia Cockatoo from Geelong.

    The club knows this is not going to happen, but in doing so has shown that it won’t be bullied into trading Ablett for less than his market value. In Geelong’s favour is the fact that Gold Coast’s list has more holes than Swiss cheese, and other than key position players it is not really in a position to turn down established talent.

    There’s also the fact that if a deal can’t be done, Ablett would retire, meaning the Suns get nothing for his departure.

    Gold Coast has stated its desire for players, rather than picks, in return for Ablett. This is where it could get tricky for Geelong. The club has few players it would be willing to lose, and those it is are not likely to be of initial interest to the Suns.

    It’s the age-old trade period scenario – you have to give up something to get something. Jake Kolodjashnij’s name has been floated as an option, as has Sam Menegola. The Cats seem unlikely to part with either, but Kolodjashnij’s family link to brother Kade certainly makes it a plausible option.

    Then we come to Steven Motlop, who has toured Gold Coast’s facilities and is due to meet with new coach Stuart Dew this week. If Gold Coast land Motlop as a free agent, they may be persuaded to accept picks or lesser players from Geelong, having acquired a best 22 player. However, while Motlop would certainly bring an injection of class, his inconsistency would be a worry for Gold Coast, and I can see them wanting another more reliable player to complement Motlop.

    If I were Gold Coast, I would stick to the initial demand for Duncan or Cockatoo for as long as possible. Negotiation technique says that you open high – higher than your expected return – and gradually barter down to something more realistic.

    I’d argue that receiving one of the players whose names have supposedly been touted as possible trade bait would be unders for losing Ablett. Forcing the Cats to give up a player they really want would help the Suns send a message to the competition that clubs seeking to raid it in future will face a tough task. It’s time for this club to make a stand, and it starts here.

    Do you find yourself logged out of The Roar?
    We have just switched over to a secure site (https). This means you will need to log-in afresh. If you need help with recovering your password, please get in contact.

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (86)

    • October 9th 2017 @ 7:25am
      dangertroy said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:25am | ! Report

      The biggest reason they need to hold firm is because of his contract. Players can’t be signing multi year, front loaded deals that they don’t intend on honouring. I thought Gaz moving to the Gold coast when the club started was a great move, and somewhat selfless of him, moving from a side that was in flag contention to an expansion side to help grow the competition.
      But if he signed a 3 year deal for big money when he wanted a move home and thought he could just wriggle out of it after being paid the lions share… Well, no deal.
      The AFL need to quash this, lest it become the norm. There already seems to be a much higher number of contracted players declaring they want trades than I can remember in previous seasons.

    • October 9th 2017 @ 7:41am
      David C said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report

      Looks like Schache is going to be traded back to Vic. Northern clubs having a tough time again.

      • Roar Guru

        October 9th 2017 @ 8:53am
        mds1970 said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        Bad news for the Lions. A number 2 pick, son of a former Bear, who was initially very keen to go to Brisbane but wants a trade to Victoria.
        Clubs in Qld and NSW, drawing more players from interstate and less locals than the other clubs, are always more prone to the go-home factor.
        Ultimately what’s needed is a mechanism to allow those clubs to develop AFL-standard locals. That’s why the Academy system matters. But even that doesn’t guarantee that players won’t want to be traded – Jack Steele and now Matt Kennedy have come through the Giants Academy but moved on.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 9:45am
          truetigerfan said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

          How do you explain that Sydney don’t suffer from the go home factor then, mds1970? What actually allows them to not only retain players but also attract players from other states? By such generalising we let some clubs off the hook somewhat.

          • Roar Guru

            October 9th 2017 @ 10:47am
            SportsFanGC said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

            I just posted this in Josh Elliott’s Trade Blog, but think it is applicable here also:

            It does make you wonder how/why the issue of homesickness is so prevalent in the AFL industry?

            I mean the furthest these players move from home is Perth (4-5 hours by plane from the East Coast) and they never need to leave the shores of Australia so no issues with language, culture, food, weather, customs, isolation etc.

            The go into super professional environments and elite training facilities with all the help and assistance you can imagine covering just about every aspect of their life, they regularly play football in Melbourne (where most homesickness seems to occur) and stay back after those games, they have 6-8 weeks of annual leave each year after the season and another 2 weeks over the Christmas period, all the while earning far in excess of the average Aussie yet still complain it is not enough?

            Jake Lever’s dad pleading with Adelaide to get the deal done to bring him to the Dee’s was laughable – if it is genuine homesickness then give all 9 Clubs in Melbourne the chance to deal with Adelaide. Don’t dictate it is Melbourne or the PSD because that means it is about money not family and his dad just made himself look foolish.

            I think of our other athletes in years passed in Football who went to England, Italy, Croatia as young teenagers to begin their careers, guys who have gone to College in the USA to play Basketball, NFL, Golf etc compared with the way AFL players are brought into the AFL system while living at home and it is chalk and cheese.

            This weekend just gone the first Aussie ever to play NHL, Nathan Walker, made his debut for the Washington Capitals after initially leaving home as a 14 year old to play Ice Hockey in the Czech Republic to chase his dream.

            You compare those scenario’s to AFL kids aged 20-23 citing homesickness and its almost embarrassing.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 2:21pm
              R King said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

              Well said. I’m not sure how dumb these players and their managers think we are, pretty dumb by the sounds of it. It has always been about money, front ended contracts is just another way to line their pockets before holding clubs to ransom.

              The AFL tries to tell us how professional they are, when in fact they are far from it.

              Honesty has been thrown out the window this time of the year, it will be refreshing when a club decides to ‘lose’ on a deal and sends a player into the draft, where he may end up somewhere he doesn’t want to be, because he gets paid less or loses out on a chance of a Premiership medal. These guys who are part way through a contract have to learn, that a deal is a deal,

              Having said all of that, clubs are no better. When it suits them they cut players from the squad without any feeling what so ever.

          • Roar Guru

            October 9th 2017 @ 11:02am
            mds1970 said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

            They did lose Tom Mitchell last year, but they do better with retention than most. Particularly the Queensland clubs, the want-away rate is alarming.

          • Roar Guru

            October 9th 2017 @ 11:07am
            Paul D said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

            Because Sydney regularly play finals

          • October 9th 2017 @ 11:47am
            Mattician6x6 said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

            Modern phenomenon with swans due to success, remember Gasper, Williams, no1draft pick to wce for Scott waters and tony begovich? Swans used to get shafted regularly in late80s-mid 90s

            • Roar Guru

              October 9th 2017 @ 2:38pm
              mds1970 said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

              Anthony Rocca was another.

              • October 9th 2017 @ 5:03pm
                Dexter The Hamster said | October 9th 2017 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

                Ah Pebbles…. Good memories.

          • October 9th 2017 @ 3:52pm
            Angela said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

            Sydney is a great football club – well managed, well coached and the players are looked after plus (and don’t drown me in sneers) the eastern suburbs of Sydney is a great place to live – everything is here if you can afford the rent, which presumably young footballers can.
            Beaches, parks, pretty good transport, close to the airport, not far from the CBD, lots of young people plus great atmosphere (backpacker heaven).
            Also the Swans have been around for a while and have a great following. The SCG gets big attendances and I’m sure it’s nicer playing in front of a big, enthusiastic crowd than a small one.

            And someone mentioned Tom Mitchell leaving. As far as I’m aware his first choice was to stay but the Swans couldn’t (or wouldn’t) afford him. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t homesickness that sent him back to Melbourne. It was a shame they let him go but can’t blame him for moving on to further his (as it turns out, outstanding) career and be paid what he or his agent thinks he’s worth.

            But this year all our up and coming promising players have signed contracts to stay on. It seems to be very quiet and stable at the Swans this trade period.

          • October 9th 2017 @ 4:57pm
            GoSwans said | October 9th 2017 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

            On one hand the Swans had to lose some players when Buddy arrived to free up salary space but on the other there was getting Buddy. Other players are also not so keen on the media and public attention that living in Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth entails with the Swans benefiting from that (eg Shaw and Tippett). So although there is a go home there is also go somewhere else at play. The go home (or more likely to succeed) being more common leaving the NSW and Queensland clubs at a huge disadvantage.

    • Roar Guru

      October 9th 2017 @ 7:50am
      Cat said | October 9th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      Some people are seriously overvaluing a 33 year old who hasn’t been able to get on the park much of late. Just how is a player averaging 14 games a year going to kick 60 goals?!?

      GC can ask for whatever they want – it won’t happen. If they force Ablett to retire they won’t have to actually pay him but his entire salary will still count towards their salary cap for 2018 – whether that is even a concern for them, I have no idea but it shouldn’t be overlooked.

      I’m less clear on this part but if Ablett retired he may have to stay on the list in name only until his contract is finished as well, meaning GC list would effectively be 1 player short for the entire year. For a team that needs to develop depth that’s not ideal.

      You can say Ablett failed GC on some levels but when he was healthy he absolutely delivered them everything they paid for and more. GC on the other hand has failed Ablett on every conceivable level. Injury management? GC have failed. On field performance? GC have failed. Finals? GC have failed. Off field support? GC have failed. Surrounding Ablett with a group of players to help him lead the club? GC must assuredly have failed. GC haven’t delivered on any of the promises they surly made to Ablett when he agreed to head north. Is it really any surprise Ablett has had enough and wants out? Who wouldn’t?

      • October 9th 2017 @ 8:23am
        AR said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        Gold Coast has had its notable problems, but it was far from one-sided.

        Ablett brought in a questionable cultural influence on the young players with his hyper-religious practice.

        He refused standard medical treatment, meaning he was often on the sidelines with injuries for much longer than he needed to be.

        His leadership onfied was outstanding, but off-field it was a whimper. And he often put himself first over his teammates, flying to Melb when injured instead of watching his teammates play.

        He’s a great player, a complex guy, and it’s ultimately a good thing for all parties that he moves on.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 12:56pm
          Terry Russell said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

          A questionable cultural influence? Ablett was the most professional bloke at the club. Have you heard Campbell Brown talking about Ablett’s strict diet and other preparation?

          I agree with Cat that the club let Ablett down.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 11:54pm
          Knoxy said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:54pm | ! Report

          I’d say that an ex-player called Karmichael Hunt and a few others were the ones bringing in ‘questionable cultural influences’.

      • October 9th 2017 @ 8:45am
        GoSwans said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        There biggest fail was to re-sign him on a three year heavily front loaded deal.

        Are there any fringe players who have had a couple of years of development and playing well in the VFL looking for guaranteed game time? That is probably the only answer here.

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 10:07am
          SportsFanGC said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          GoSwans it was Ablett and his Manager that pushed hard for a 3 year deal back in 2015, the Suns were only offering a two year deal.

          • Roar Guru

            October 9th 2017 @ 12:58pm
            Wilson said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

            I wonder if Ablett wishes he went with the 2 year that was offered? I would have made all of this a little easier

      • October 9th 2017 @ 8:48am
        Shane said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        Fair calls, Cat – especially regarding the salary squeeze for GC, regardless of whether they have room, they are never going to want his salary in their cap if he retires, just to make a principled point.

        I think Maddy starts the premise incorrectly – Geelong just won’t give up overs for Ablett, this is not an even trading position between the clubs. Geelong can’t deliver what they want, we don’t have a deep enough list to lose any best 22 players, for Ablett or not. Which is why we are saying that we want to keep Menzel and Motlop.

        That means that Gold Coast can bluster all they want, but they are not in a very strong position to be making a stand over Ablett. Their club is in disarray, the last thing they want to be seen doing is a self defeating and futile act of principle.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 12:13pm
          Paul said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

          Mercs like Gazza boy And his buddy pickers need to be put in his place , if retires fine
          Afl need to make a stand or close the doors
          Unbelievable. Cats have. no. Picks but chasing all of smith ablett stringer watts
          But won’t give anything up

          • October 10th 2017 @ 2:11pm
            Shane said | October 10th 2017 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

            So, you think they will be happy to carry his salary in their cap, if they play hardball? Can’t see how, but fair enough.

            Are you confusing your dislike of Geelong with their actual ability to get deals done? We. Have. No. Picks. In the first round. But we will be active in the trade period, and hopefully land a Stringer or Watts for the picks we have, and not lose much at all for Gablett. Certainly can’t see it being a best 22 player, anyway.

            And if it happens that way, it seems you will just have to suck lemons Paul, because there is nothing wrong with Geelong taking full advantage of the trade period if they can.

      • October 9th 2017 @ 12:05pm
        Paul said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

        Yeah you’re right of course and not biased we all can see that
        He’s greedy ,shifty and his managers the same
        You think he’s been gong 100% the last two years well Gould be the only 1
        Always was going back
        The big question is will he work for costa or cotton on?
        It should be Duncan and pick

    • October 9th 2017 @ 8:03am
      Ditto said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

      If Geelong asked their group, hands up, who wants to go to Gold Coast, how many takers would they get ?

      • October 9th 2017 @ 8:41am
        Shane said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        None, apparently.

      • Roar Guru

        October 9th 2017 @ 9:32am
        Cat said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        That’s the issue in a nut shell. Same issue GC had with the O’Meara deal with Hawthorn, no players want to head north. Eventually it will end up being a picks deal or no deal.

    • October 9th 2017 @ 8:37am
      truetigerfan said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      “Just what his market value is, exactly, is hard to place.” I would agree with that, Maddy. But playing hardball with absolutely zero good will seems to me to be way over the top! Duncan or Cockatoo? They must be joking. That would make this entire deal the ‘gift that keeps on giving’. No Geelong player canvassed is willing to move north to the Suns, this says a lot. Gazza has given it everything during his time at the Suns for very little, other than monetary, reward. They should be thanking him for his service and facilitating his return home.

      • Roar Guru

        October 9th 2017 @ 11:06am
        Penster said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        truetigerfan (congratulations on your club’s success), Gazza moved north for a massive monetary reward. Then front loaded a 3 year deal and wants to bail on the last, cheap year. He doesn’t “play ball” off field, he was rewarded for his brilliance by doing pretty much what he wanted including honeymoon during pre season, self managing injuries, prayer circles before matches, not turning up to GC matches when injured. None of this would be tolerated at yours or my club, it’s a terrible example from a captain. GC has been a basket case, but Ablett, as captain contributed to this.
        If the GC is to be taken seriously, and Stew Dew might just bring the goods, they should make an example of this and force the retirement and not further reward this selfish albeit brilliant odd bod.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 12:39pm
          Milo said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

          Agree Penster,

          But if they ‘force the retirement’ doesn’t that mean they lose a list spot next year? If so, the GC may have a case to go to the AFL and given the circumstances plead for that spot to be used for a player AND not allow GA to be re-registered in 2018.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 1:58pm
          truetigerfan said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

          Penster. Thanks re Tiges success. It was awesome. If all you’re saying is factual they should be glad to be rid of him, anyway. To hang on to inflict some form of retribution isn’t productive for anyone . . . being nasty for the sake of showing everyone who’s boss! I’m a bit over clubs taking the holier than thou approach while engaging in brutal list management decisions that have far greater impact on individuals than we could ever contemplate. What’s good for the goose . . .

          • October 9th 2017 @ 3:08pm
            Milo said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

            Speaking of list management decisions TTF, good to see the Tiges delist Elton, Hunt & Morris. Another good decision since the boy Balme has been on board.

            Morris will remain in the VFL team playing at that level only which isn’t a bad choice either.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 3:31pm
              truetigerfan said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

              Yes, Milo. Would have to agree with all of that. Elton & Hunt had their opportunities, not up to scratch moving forward. Morris playing VFL only is an inspired decision. Gotta love the way he plays, gives it everything! A good role model for our aspiring young fellas! Carna Tiges!

      • October 9th 2017 @ 12:17pm
        Paul said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        No player
        close the joint and go to tassie
        What a waste of MY CLUBS MONEY

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 12:28pm
          Paul D said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

          A team in tassie would require way more of your clubs money to subsidise and support it

          And no-one would want to go there either

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 1:40pm
          SportsFanGC said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

          Paul if players don’t want to live on the Gold Coast what makes you think anyone wants to live in Tasmania?

          Players would go the Suns if they were playing finals and successful.

          Case in Point Brisbane Lions at the turn of the century and GWS currently.

          You seriously think any player wants to be at the Giants playing in front of mediocre crowds in an area that doesn’t care about AFL footy?

          • Roar Guru

            October 9th 2017 @ 1:41pm
            TomC said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

            Both Brisbane at the turn of the century and GWS now were and are losing many more players than they attract.

    • October 9th 2017 @ 9:18am
      Mike said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

      Look at the reward – Prestia goes = Flag – No one will want to go North – unless they want a NEAFL premiership

    , , ,