SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Gary Ablett of the Suns winces after a tackle during the round two AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Gold Coast Suns at Spotless Stadium on April 1, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Gold Coast star Gary Ablett revealed to the nation on Thursday night that 2017 may well be his final season in the AFL.

Ablett looked a stressed and distracted individual, as he confirmed he is battling serious family issues. The issues saw him request a trade back home to Geelong at the end of last season and will likely see him do the same again at the end of this season.

“This may be my last season,” Ablett told The Footy Show last night.

“I’ve got some things going on in my life that I’m not going to elaborate on, but they’re my number one priority at the moment.

“I said to the club that I’m super committed to this year and that I’m going to give it everything but I don’t know what 2018 holds for me.

“I’ll sit down with the club at the end of the year, we’ll talk through that and we’ll work out what the next step is.”

His comments mean one thing. He almost certainly will not be at the Suns in 2018.


By stating in public that he essentially does not want to be at the club next year, not based on footballing matters, but on personal matters it must be stressed, he has held the club to ransom and backed them into a corner.

The nation and the footy world now know Ablett’s feelings thanks to an honest and forthright interview.

He has essentially told the Suns; allow me a trade back home to Geelong, or risk losing me for nothing at all.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 25: Gary Ablett of the Suns reacts to an umpires decision during the 2017 AFL round 01 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium on March 25, 2017 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

If Gold Coast once again refuses to trade their marquee man, who was promised the world, but was delivered very little, then the club will be seen as insensitive and at the same time, why would you want to keep a player on your list who clearly does not want to be there? His performances will suffer as a result, which we have already seen.

While the Suns’ position is understandable and they want to either retain their star player or ensure they receive adequate compensation, they simply cannot refuse to trade Ablett, or they will simply lose him for nothing, as it has become quite clear he will not be there for another year if he would prefer to be elsewhere.

The sticking point will be the trade itself. The Suns will want a lot in return for Ablett.

However, at 33, and past his prime, how much is he really worth?

Geelong also cannot trade away its first round draft pick, as it has already traded away its first round pick from 2015, 2016 and 2017 in order to secure Patrick Dangerfield, Lachie Henderson and Zach Tuohy.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 10: Gary Ablett of the Cats handballs during the AFL Second Semi Final match between the Geelong Cats and the Fremantle Dockers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 10, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

Under the League’s rules for trading future picks, a club must activate at least two first round picks within a four year cycle.

If Geelong fail to do so the the club could receive sanctions from the AFL, including potential trade restrictions.

The Cats may be able secure Ablett without giving up a first round pick, however, they are unlikely to be able to sign him as easily as Melbourne recruited Jordan Lewis or West Coast recruited Sam Mitchell.

Melbourne sent picks 48 and 66 to Hawthorn and received Lewis, as well as picks 57 and 68, while Mitchell joined West Coast virtually for pick 88.

Gold Coast will play hard ball for their contracted star. However, play too hard, and they risk losing Gazza for nothing at all if he retires.

If that does eventuate, it would not be beyond the realms of possibility for Ablett to retire from the game, only to return and sign with Geelong if he wants to continue playing footy.