- from afl.com.au
SACKED Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade regrets not speaking to Suns staff and players after he was told he would not receive another contract at season's end.
Eade was told of his fate on Monday night, but declined the opportunity to say a few words to his players.
It's a situation Eade has experienced in the past, having been moved on as senior coach by Sydney and the Western Bulldogs.
"It was an interesting one. Having been through it before, one of the times it didn't work that well, it was really flat. And I suppose having been told the night before, my head space was in a different angle," Eade told Channel Nine.
"I probably regret that to a degree, because I had some great relationships with the players and 35 of them have sent me a text or phoned up.
"Most of them have been very heartfelt, which has been great. In hindsight, I probably should have, but I thought, you go there having experienced it before, everyone doesn't know what to say and you feel like you're going to an executioner's room. But I should've taken that option."
He was hired by Gold Coast in October 2014 and was taken aback by the state of the club.
"It certainly shocked me when I was there at the start but even March, April, May, you turn over a rock and something else pops up. That was different, there's no doubt," Eade said.
"It was tough conditions as far as the training facilities, which is something they told me from the start, that that was very poor. They've got great facilities now but as far as things that were uncovered. A few were historic, Karmichael Hunt etc.
"There was a lot there to work through and fix and I think over the last two years, we've fixed those issues. Leadership is now starting to come through because they were a very young squad. There's been a lot of work in a lot of areas but they need results."
A major issue in Eade's time was dealing with superstar midfielder Gary Ablett. A dual premiership player with Geelong, Ablett requested a trade home last year and has on multiple occasions publicly voiced uncertainty over his future beyond this season.
"As coach and the fact that he's under contract, you know people make emotive statements and they make threats and whatever, so I didn't make too much about it," Eade said.
"Players and coaches and media people, we make big statements at times. I wasn't fazed about it. I've had a good chat with Gary, he's got some family things he wants to work through. Obviously, he's towards the end of his career and I can see why he would want to go back home, for that reason. Whether that works out that way I'm not sure."
Ablett will miss Saturday's QClash with the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba with a hamstring issue – the sixth game the 33-year-old has missed through injury this season.
"In fair credit to him, the hamstring scan came up with a little dislodgement and he could've played (against Sydney in round 16) if it was around the muscle, but it was around the tendon. So playing, it's a chance to put him out for six or eight weeks," Eade said.
"He then declared himself right to play against Collingwood, pulled up sore from that. He phoned me today and said that his other hamstring now, he's got the same sort of thing. It's around the tendon so it's more a risk assessment."
Eade offered a pointer to how the best and fairest award would stand if votes were counted now.
"His form (in) the games he's played, he'll probably still win the best and fairest. His form, except for that one in round two that everyone criticised him for, his form's been pretty good. I think he could play for another two years," Eade said.
Eade also expressed a desire to keep working in football.