The Gold Coast SUNS player leadership model has evolved ahead of the 2016 season.
The new leadership model of Ablett, Lynch, May and Prestia will be supported by experienced leaders Michael Rischitelli, Nick Malceski, Jarrod Harbrow and Matt Rosa, along with additional emerging leaders David Swallow and Jaeger O’Meara.
Senior coach, Rodney Eade said the club had a heavy focus on leadership on and off the field.
“We’re building a strong culture of leadership and accountability on and off the field and the players have not only embraced that strong focus but are leading it.
“Everyone involved in the club is acutely aware of the responsibility we all have to the Gold Coast community, the AFL and our fans to perform both on and off the field. We know what is expected of us and we make no exceptions in holding each other to account,” Eade said.
Eade admitted that the club and the team was challenged on a leadership front in 2015, but he is pleased with the progress the club is making.
“Last year was a difficult year for our football club, but we believe it will be one of the most defining in our history. Only time will tell how important the year was for our growth, but we believe we have taken some significant steps forward and put the right measures in place for sustained success.”
“Last year we didn’t have enough leaders. This year we have a large group of players who have all put their hand up and want to accept the challenge to build a stronger, more accountable culture. That is a huge positive not just for this coming year but for identifying and developing and mentoring the candidates who will be ready to step into key leadership roles in the coming years,” Eade said.
Ablett, who will enter his sixth season as captain, said he looked forward to working with Lynch, May and Prestia, as well as the wider leadership team, to strengthen the clubs leadership.
“I’m rapt to have a strong group of players to help me lead the club in 2016.
“We were all well aware we needed to improve our leadership capacity, and we have made some real progress, but the job is not done yet.
“For me, to have these players taking the next step, both challenges and helps me become a better leader and ensures we are developing the future leaders,” Ablett said.
Ablett believes 2016 provides an opportunity to create a culture that the players, club and Gold Coast community can be proud of.
“This year is an opportunity for us to gain greater respect on and off the field and demonstrate that we are prepared to make the sacrifices required to be a strong AFL club, if we can do that we will go a long way to creating a legacy at the Gold Coast SUNS that we can be all proud of.”