OUT Gary Ablett, in Louis Herbert.
The two-time Brownlow medallist’s season-ending shoulder surgery has paved the way for the South Warrnambool export to be upgraded to a senior AFL list.
Herbert, 20, was elevated from Gold Coast’s rookie list yesterday in place of the injured Suns skipper and named as an emergency for its round 18 clash against Brisbane at the Gabba tomorrow.
The former North Ballarat Rebel’s rapid rise follows football hardships.
He was overlooked in two national drafts before the Suns took a punt on him with pick four in last year’s rookie draft.
The versatile 188-centimetre prospect’s strong form of late for the club’s NEAFL side pushed his case for senior elevation.
Herbert has played as a medium-sized forward for the Suns’ second-tier team after he was drafted on a stellar TAC Cup season at half-back.
The Rebels’ decision to play the former Emmanuel Hawk in defence as a 19-year-old, having spent the bulk of his football career in attack, catapulted his draft chances.
Herbert‘s father Peter said he and wife Karen were proud of their son’s achievements. “He has worked super hard and the boys at the TAC Cup up there did a wonderful job with him,” he said.
“He loves his footy and knows what he wants to do.
“He’d be over the moon and excited (about a potential debut in coming weeks) but obviously nervous and will be trying to think about putting his best foot forward.
“Wherever he plays he gives his best.”
Peter, who has watched five NEAFL games live this season, said his son had embraced the Queensland lifestyle and his new club.
“It has been a fantastic year for the lad after missing the last two drafts and to be picked up as a rookie,” he said.
“He hasn’t got homesick and he loves the lifestyle up there.”
If Herbert is called up to play tomorrow he will become the third of four south-west teenagers drafted last year to debut in their first seasons.
Terang Mortlake’s Lewis Taylor will line up for his 18th appearance for Brisbane tomorrow, having played every game since his round one call-up, and Cobden’s Zach Merrett has played 14 games for Essendon.
Kolora-Noorat’s Nick Bourke, a rookie at Geelong, has played in the VFL.