SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Gary Ablett of the Suns in action 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)

Former Hawthorn defender and triple premiership player, Brian Lake, believes recruiting Gary Ablett would be a big mistake for Geelong.

Lake also suggested that if the Cats were to sign Ablett on a one or two-year deal, it would leave the likes of Steve Johnson, James Kelly and particularly Jimmy Bartel, scratching their heads.

Bartel announced his retirement at the end of last season after he was encouraged to hang up the boots by the Cats, despite playing enough games to trigger a contract extension into 2017.

“For me, should (Ablett) go back to Geelong? I’d be pretty upset if I was Jimmy Bartel and you’ve got a guy like Gary Ablett coming back for a year or so when Jimmy wanted to keep playing at the age of 32-years-old but (the Cats) wanted to play the young kids,” Lake said on Fox Footy on Saturday morning.

“I think it’d be a backwards step for Geelong.”

However, Lake said Ablett is still capable of good football and believes he will bounce back this week against Hawthorn, following heavy criticism after the Suns’ 102-point loss to Greater Western Sydney last week.

“He’ll respond. He was poor last week, so he has to respond,” Lake said.

Geelong is said to be open to bringing Ablett back to the club next season, should the Suns be willing to trade their contracted star.