Coaching choice could sway Ablett, says Ling
THE right coach might just be enough to help sway Gary Ablett to see out his contract at the Gold Coast, says former Geelong teammate Cameron Ling.
Ablett is contracted for one more season at the Suns, but is next month expected to request a trade back to the Cats, who he spent his first nine years in the AFL with.
Gold Coast has recommenced the interviewing process in its search for Rodney Eade's replacement, and will be determined to have someone in place before the trade period starts on October 9.
The Suns had hoped to entice former assistant Ken Hinkley back to the club, but he instead inked a new deal tying him to Port Adelaide until 2021.
Ablett's good friend and former captain, Ling is still unsure of the two-time Brownlow Medallist's future.
"I'm kind of holding off (making an assumption) until I see who the coach is," he said.
"Hypothetically, say it had have been Ken Hinkley with all this talk this week - Kenny and Gaz have got an amazing relationship - all of a sudden I probably would have changed my tune and that Gaz maybe stays.
"But given I don't know who the coach is going to be ... what that person thinks of Gary, how hard-ball the coach is going play versus whether he's happy to let him go - we'll wait and see."
Ablett is expected to meet with his manager Liam Pickering next week to discuss a move back to Geelong.
Pickering had earlier this week suggested Ablett would take a pay cut to rejoin the Cats, saying "financially it wouldn't be an issue at all".
Ling, now an All-Australian selector and Channel Seven commentator, said the Suns needed the "best development coach" to take the reins at the club.
"They've got to get this new batch of young talent, those (four) top 10 (draft) picks from last year, they've got to get them right.
"If they mess up big time, and don't make the most of that young talent, it's a long time in the wilderness from there.
"They need someone who can set strong boundaries, really build a united and strong culture but also nurture as well, (who) can understand they are young men and need time put into them, get them growing into something over the next five years, and keeps the excitement of (co-captains) Tom Lynch and Steven May and these types of players, so they can see a real future and real direction."
Ling agreed a Chris Fagan, now in charge at Brisbane, would have been ideal - and or a young Mark Thompson, who led Ling's Geelong to two premierships (2007, '09).
"You would love a totally committed 40-year-old 'Bomber' Thompson," Ling said.
"Draft and develop, that was his philosophy."