Gary Ablett of the Gold Coast Suns.
Gary Ablett of the Gold Coast Suns. BRENDAN ESPOSITO

Suns omit Ablett from leadership group

FORMER captain Gary Ablett has been left out of the Gold Coast Suns' new-look leadership group for the 2017 AFL season.

Ablett, who relinquished the Suns' skipper role late last year after it was revealed his trade request back to Geelong had been denied by Gold Coast, is one of five exclusions from last year's leadership group.

Jarrod Harbrow won't be part of the team this season, while Nick Malceski (retired), Dion Prestia (Richmond) and Jaeger O'Meara (Hawthorn) have now left the club in a playing capacity.

They have been replaced by Fremantle recruit Michael Barlow and emerging midfielder Touk Miller to form a seven-man leadership group for the 2017 season.

Suns coach Rodney Eade said Lynch and May would be supported by a "strong group of leaders".

"Michael Rischitelli, Matt Rosa and David Swallow are already established leaders at our football club and in Michael and David's case they've been playing that role for some time," Eade said.

"Similar to Matty Rosa last year, Michael Barlow has made an immediate impact on the playing group, leading by example on and off the field, and his elevation to the player leadership group demonstrates the influence he has had on the team in a relatively short period of time."

Eade paid tribute to new member Miller, whose steady rise has earned him respect both inside and outside the club.

"Touk has been an influential member in our emerging leadership program since joining the club and this has been recognised by the players, resulting in him being voted into the leadership group," Eade said.

"He has grown and developed as a person, player and leader and we believe Touk will benefit enormously from being part of the leadership group in 2017."

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