Despite the Gold Coast Suns denying Gary Ablett a return home to Geelong during last season’s trade period and remaining adamant he will honour his contract, there is still a big chance the two-time Brownlow Medalist will be a Cat in 2018, according to The Herald Sun.
Ablett reportedly still has a “strong desire” to finish his career with Geelong and the Cats are open to the 32-year-old returning to the club where he started his career 16 years ago before winning two premierships.
Gazza is contracted with the Suns until the end of the 2018 season, after he signed a three-year extension in 2015 worth around $1 million a year.
Suns’ chairman Tony Cochrane stated last year following the club’s refusal to grant Ablett a trade home, he had fully committed to seeing out his contract.
However, the whispers about a return to the Cattery have only grown louder and his lackluster performance against the Giants on the weekend was not exemplary of a player who is happy at his club.
He would have to take a large pay cut for the Cats to be able to fit him in their salary cap and News Limited reports he is willing to do so.
Another stumbling block would be satisfying the Suns with a trade for a man who has arguably been the best player of the past 20 years.
Gold Coast is unlikely to let the little champ go cheaply. However, given Ablett’s game on Saturday, it begs the question, why would you want a player at your club who does not want to be there, particularly if he is not performing to his best nor putting in 100% effort.
Rightly or wrongly, Ablett was heavily critised in the media following his performance, which saw him collect just one disposal in the first quarter, before finishing with 16 for the match.
Former teammate Cameron Mooney said Ablett was not trying to win the hard ball.
“He started the game last week extremely slow as well,” Mooney said during the broadcast of the game.
“The way he’s moving, he just doesn’t seem to be moving that well. He looks like at the moment as well that he just wants to get the easy ball.”
Meanwhile, former Melbourne forward, David Schwarz, slammed the former captain’s professionalism.
“Him going forward and sulking about it isn’t going to help them in any way,” Schwarz said.
“I’m not criticising him as a person or a human being, but if he’s given a role he has to do it. If Rocket says play in the backline, he has to go play in the backline and keep his chest up.
“Even if he’s upset about it, he’s gotta give 100 per cent. Whether he’s on $1 or $1 million he’s got to perform.”
Geelong would also need to ensure Ablett is fully over the shoulder injuries that have plagued him for the past three seasons. But if he can find his way to the Cats, the prospect of Dangerfield, Selwood and Ablett playing in the same midfield is certainly a mouth-watering one.