GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 01: Jimmy Bartel of the Cats shakes hands with Gary Ablett of the Suns before the start of the round ten AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Gold Coast Suns at Simonds Stadium on June 1, 2013 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Three-time Geelong premiership player and Gary Ablett’s former teammate Jimmy Bartel believes it’s the Cats or bust for Ablett in 2018.

In an interview on Channel Nine’s The Footy Show on Thursday night, Ablett made some interesting comments, stating this year could possibly be his last season.

If Ablett returns to Geelong next season he’ll be a year older than Bartel when he played his final season at the Cats after being effectively forced into early retirement, but Bartel believes the two-time Brownlow Medallist is “an exception to the rule.”

“Gary will be at Geelong, or he’ll retire,” Bartel said on Channel Seven on Sunday.

“No matter where you rank players in history, (in) everyone’s top five there’s Gary Ablett jnr.”

Current Cat Tom Hawkins also spoke on the Ablett saga on Sunday morning, admitting he would love to be reunited with his former teammate.

“I’ve felt a bit sorry for Gary from afar,” Hawkins told ABC Radio.

“He’s obviously one of the greatest players.

“It’d be unfair for me to speculate on what his playing future is, but he’s a high calibre player.”