Nathan Ablett to debut for Suns - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Nathan Ablett to debut for Suns

Darren Cartwright 19/08/2011 12:47:17 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast assistant coach Ken Hinkley says Nathan Ablett's highly-anticipated AFL return after a four-year absence is well-deserved.

And he should know.

Hinkley was a key member of the Cats' coaching staff when Ablett sensationally walked away from the game aged just 21 after being a member of their drought-breaking 2007 premiership.

After being lured back into the sport, Ablett will line up alongside big brother Gary when the Suns take on Adelaide at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.

The big question now is whether Nathan Ablett can be a long-term asset for Gold Coast.

"We made some changes and had some injuries so the opportunity for him is really pleasing, one for him personally and for us as a team to give Nathan an opportunity to show us what he can do," Hinkley said.

"He is just competing really hard and we know it's not about Nathan taking lots of marks or kicking lots of goals, it's about just doing the structured things we expect.

"Everyone involved with the club would like to think Nathan can come in for more than one game.

"He's had a long time out and that's the difficult thing."

Hinkley was an assistant coach at Geelong when Ablett was coming through the system and closely monitored his development.

After several injury concerns in the past two years, the Suns' forward coach says Ablett's body still has to handle the daily grind of the AFL and catch up to the tactical evolution of the sport.

"At Geelong he was a young kid just getting a start," Hinkley said.

"Now he's had a long time away from football and how much of that can he pick back up?

"That's been the battle for him, it's the speed of the game and the game has changed a lot since '07.

"Nathan has really had to battle to get into that sort of stuff."

Ablett was one of six inclusions the Suns made to the side which capitulated to Brisbane last weekend.

Former NRL player Karmichael Hunt was recalled even though coach Guy McKenna had all but written the defender off for the season because of fatigue.

Hinkley said it was more because of Hunt's determination to keep playing that he was selected.

"It's a massive tick about Karmichael. No doubt he likes to compete," Hinkley said.

"He's older and has a more mature body, but he's no different to our younger boys, we have to look at them at the end of each game."

On Saturday, the Abletts will achieve the rare feat of playing together for two different clubs.

And continuing the brotherly theme, young Sun Joel Tippett has been named at fullback for his AFL debut where he could be pitted directly against older brother and Crows star Kurt.

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