AFL: Mild-mannered Gold Coast skipper Gary Ablett is never one to get heavy-handed with his players.
And the veteran said there was no pressure being applied to out-of-contract pair Jaeger O’Meara, 22, and Dion Prestia, 23, when he approached them about re-committing to the Suns.
Until they are re-signed by the club, the duo remain in high demand with rivals in need of a major spark in the engine room, which both could provide.
Opposition teams are believed to be offering a much as $750,000 a year for either player.
Ablett, though, is hopeful they will put pen to paper and stick with the Suns, who are gradually finding form as more of their injured stars return to fitness and in turn the senior team.
“I’ve had a chat to them both,” Ablett told reporters yesterday. “It’s not about putting pressure on them. At the end of the day, they need to make the decision on what they feel is right for them, their family.
“(But) obviously we want those two guys hanging around the football club. They’re a big part of this football club, they’re valued around this football club and they’re important to our football side.”
O’Meara, the 2013 Rising Star Award winner, played his first game since the end of 2014 on the weekend with the Suns’ NEAFL team after overcoming a ruptured patella tendon.
Prestia, runner-up to Ablett for the 2013 club best-and-fairest award, has been solid in 2016 after his 2015 was ruined by a knee injury.
“I know for Jaeger it was about getting back and playing a few games first before they started talking contracts ... I don’t know where it’s at with Dion,” Ablett said.
“But I’m sure the club is pushing hard, and hopefully we can get both of those guys locked away in the next month or so.”
Ablett, who laughed off suggestions he himself could be traded back to Geelong, is slowly returning to top form after overcoming a shoulder injury. He also suffered a burst blood vessel in his calf earlier this season.
He collected 40 disposals – and a career-high 15 clearances – against Hawthorn and then backed up with another 25 touches in the drought-breaking win over St Kilda.
“I won’t go into detail but there was a few injuries that were restricting me from doing that earlier in the season but I’m getting on top of them now and feeling good,” said Ablett, whose team is preparing for the next QClash against Brisbane.
“It’s a big one for us, no doubt it’s a big one for them.”