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Abletts to team up for Suns

By Laine Clark and John Salvado 07/12/2010 05:57:36 PM Comments (0)

Nathan Ablett is expected to rise to "another level" alongside older brother Gary after being selected by Gold Coast with the top pick in the AFL pre-season draft on Tuesday.

But Suns football manager Marcus Ashcroft believes Ablett's AFL resurrection can't be solely attributed to his famous brother's arrival on the tourist strip.

Nathan Ablett - who was a member of Geelong's 2007 premiership team before walking out on the AFL - played a handful of games for the Suns' VFL team in 2010.

Although he struggled with form and fitness, the Suns decided the key forward, who turns 25 on Monday, was deserving of their top selection in the pre-season draft.

"After his last VFL game for us this year we gave him a huge challenge to improve over the pre-season and he has risen to that challenge," Ashcroft told AAP.

"That can be attributed to his brother being here at training, but it also can be attributed to him being able to accept a challenge and rising to another level.

"Coincidentally Gary has come to the club and he is only going to help Nathan on and off the field just being around.

"But Nathan earned his chance to be a part of this list."

Ashcroft was confident of seeing the "Nathan Ablett of old" after throwing the 24-year-old an AFL lifeline.

"We hope so. We haven't seen him play in the AFL since 2007," he said.

"We have seen glimpses of his best throughout the year in the VFL - what we want to see is those glimpses more often, to play the consistent footy we know he can.

"But the signs we have seen have been quite promising."

Gary Ablett, the 2009 Brownlow medallist, is likely to be appointed the Suns' inaugural captain of a 2011 squad now including his younger brother.

Three other players with previous AFL experience were snapped up in the abbreviated pre-season draft on Tuesday.

Richmond snared former Essendon midfielder Bachar Houli, Hawthorn selected ex-Melbourne star Cameron Bruce and Fremantle picked former Collingwood forward John Anthony.

Only two other clubs utilised selections in the pre-season draft, with West Coast taking local Western Australia youngster Blayne Wilson at No.2 and Essendon choosing Michael Hibberd from VFL club Frankston at No.4.

In highlights from the 2010 rookie draft:

- Greater Western Sydney, who will enter the AFL in 2012, used the first six picks on Stephen Clifton, Rhys Cooyou, Jonathan Giles, Andrew Phillips, Jimmi Savage and Isiah Stevens;

- St Kilda re-selected Robert Eddy after he was surprisingly delisted by the Saints despite playing in the drawn grand final and the replay against Collingwood;

- Essendon threw a lifeline to Jay Neagle, who had been axed from the senior list by new coach James Hird for failing to meet fitness standards;

- The Western Bulldogs took a punt on former Sydney player Ed Barlow;

- Melbourne selected ruckman-defender Robert Campbell, a member of Hawthorn's 2008 premiership team who retired after the 2009 season due to a knee injury; and

- Sydney used the final selection on South African-born Eugene Kruger, whose sister is the No.1 ranked taekwondo player in Australia and whose mother Valme was a top-ranked 800m runner in South Africa.

Travis Tuck - who earlier this year became the first player to receive a third strike under the AFL's illicit drugs policy - was one of three players chosen by Hawthorn to participate in the training squad draft.

Tuck will learn early next year whether he will be handed the final spot on the club's rookie list.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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