Gary Ablett has signed a three-year extension with the Gold Coast Suns to remain at the club until 2018.
Five things we learned in AFL Round 3: Fremantle are the real deal, Melbourne on the improve
ASADA says it will not appeal Essendon verdict, hands case to WADA
James Aish: Brisbane Lions losing hope of retaining star midfielder
The 30-year-old was linked with a move back to former club Geelong, but he has put pen-to-paper on a deal reportedly worth $1 million per season.
Ablett said he was proud of what he had achieved at the Suns and always indicated that he would remain at the expansion club.
I’m rapt to have re-committed to the Gold Coast. For some time, I had indicated to the club and my management that I wanted to extend my contract with the SUNS,” Ablett said in a club statement.
“When I joined the Gold Coast Suns, I was aware it would be a responsibility and privilege to play a role in forming a new club, in an expansion market for our great game. But I never anticipated the ride to be so fulfilling.
“The Gold Coast Suns are a fantastic club, made up of great people who have all made such a significant contribution to both the AFL and the Gold Coast community.
“I am proud of what we have achieved so far off the field, and I know that with hard work, we are capable of achieving so much more on-field in the future, and that’s why I have re-committed to the Suns.
“We still have plenty of work ahead of us, but I strongly believe that we have the right people in place to take our club forward.”
Gold Coast chief executive Andrew Travis said the Suns were confident of retaining the Brownlow medallist despite speculation of a move back to Kardinia Park.
“We were always confident of retaining Gary. He and his manager, Liam Pickering, gave us that indication all the way through and that allowed us to complete the deal in a professional manner,” Travis said.
“What shouldn’t be overlooked is that Gary’s new deal is a huge vote of confidence in our program, our coaches, his teammates and the direction of the club.”
The 30-year-old joined Gold Coast in its inaugral season in 2011 after spending nine years at Geelong.
Ablett played 192 games and won two premierships with the Cats, but could not turn down a lucrative move to the Suns.
The two-time eight-times All-Australian has played 77 games for the Suns, kicking 98 goals.