Tony Lockett says Gary Ablett shouldn’t expect special treatment from Rodney Eade

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Rodney Eade and Tony Lockett chat at training in 2002. Photo: Simon Alekna
苏州美甲美睫培训学校

Rodney Eade and Tony Lockett chat at training in 2002. Photo: Simon Alekna

Rodney Eade and Tony Lockett chat at training in 2002. Photo: Simon Alekna

Rodney Eade and Tony Lockett chat at training in 2002. Photo: Simon Alekna

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Only one player Rodney Eade has coached prior to Gary Ablett  compares in greatness to the Gold Coast captain. That man is Tony Lockett, and he is backing Eade to get the Suns out of their early-season trough.

But Lockett has warned Ablett that he shouldn’t be expecting any special treatment from the coach.

Lockett, 49, is the game’s most prolific goalkicker, and was coached by Eade for four fruitful years in the late 1990s, as well as during his brief comeback in 2002. The four-time Coleman medallist praised the coach who took him to the only grand final of his 18-season career, saying Eade was capable of rectifying an 0-2 start to his tenure at the Suns.

“He’s a super coach. He’ll turn that around,” the 1987 Brownlow medallist and Hall of Fame member said.

Gold Coast have been defeated by last year’s two bottom sides, Melbourne and St Kilda, but Lockett was confident their run of outs would end soon, possibly as early as Sunday’s game against Geelong at Simonds Stadium.

“It’s only just the start. He’ll keep everything very positive and I’m sure before you know it they’ll be up and firing and going as good as ever. He’s a very good coach, he’ll be fine.”

Lockett knows from experience about Eade’s ability to coach a team out of an April hole. In Eade’s first season at the Swans in 1996, Sydney sat winless in 14th position on the ladder after two rounds, with a percentage of 48.3. However with the former Saint firing at full-forward, the Swans recovered to lose just three more games in the home-and-away season, finishing on top of the ladder before losing the grand final to North Melbourne.

The Suns face the significant extra hurdle of being without Ablett – their captain and star player – indefinitely as he takes longer than expected to recover fully from the shoulder surgery that ended his 2014 campaign. With rumours abounding of a disconnect between Ablett — who is out of contract — and the club, Lockett said he never felt that Eade favoured his best players. By extension, Ablett — who is believed to prefer a natural approach to injury management — would likely be made to tow the line in his recovery.

“At the end of the day it’s a club, and everyone’s together working for the same thing. That’s just the way footy clubs operate.”  

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