Gold Coast star Gary Ablett. Photo: Getty Images
Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna has acknowledged that star player Gary Ablett jnr received favourable treatment when he joined the club in 2011.
Fairfax Media columnist and former North Melbourne footballer Wayne Carey wrote on June 19 how star players such as Ablett jnr had a different set of rules and it was a system that had existed in the sport for years.
McKenna responded to the criticism on Channel Nine’s The Sunday Footy Show, suggesting the dual Brownlow medallist had trouble adjusting to a new city and club when he uprooted from Geelong, where he had played for nine years.
“There was an element of shifting the rules to a degree but nothing out of the ordinary. He wasn’t missing training sessions or flying in the face of his teammates,” he said, adding that he’s done “everything and more”.
Carey in his column stated that whispers coming out of the club were that the dual system was creating a class of elites in a team sport.
“They can be the smallest things, yet mean so much to an impressionable, young and talented group ... The captain preferring to warm up for training sessions by shooting hoops doesn’t send the right message to the team. Although these sessions may not sound as important as his on-field leadership, they still have a profound effect on such a young group.”