Gary Ablett’s farewell AFL tour is off to a rocky start, as lingering hamstring issues have put a damper on his campaign in the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition.
Ablett returned home to the Geelong Cats from the Gold Coast Suns following 2017 and the club had hoped to get one more productive season from the two-time Brownlow Medal winner. Ablett’s body is betraying him and the Cats are 12th on the ladder after three rounds.
In yet another case of sports competition pointing out the ironies of life, the Suns Ablett abandoned are in sixth position and were higher after winning the first two games of the season.
In the most recent game, Ablett was helping his side at the game with the West Coast Eagles when Ablett pulled up lame in the last quarter at Optus Stadium. The Eagles snatched the lead from that point and went on to win by 15 points.
Geelong coach Chris Scott told reporters that Ablett’s injury might be worse than the one that caused him to miss several weeks of training during the preseason.
Ablett is 33 years of age now and the hype that accompanied his return to the Cats after seven years with the Suns is proving to be just that-hype.
It is doubtful that the expectations for Ablett to put the Cats over the top in the chase for a flag were exceedingly high, but it was hoped that he could provide leadership and inspiration. He can still do those two things, but it will not be from the ground.
He was playing decently and although we do not usually speculate with projections, his 100 disposals through the first three rounds established a pace, which if marinated, would have put him over 700 for the home-and-away season, is now out of the question, even allowing for the reality that the start of the season and the finish provides many twists and turns along the way.