Gary Ablett Jr looks to be heading to a warmer place
The pieces of the jigsaw seem to falling into their perfect positions, and each day it seems more likely that Geelong’s Gary Ablett Jr will move to the AFL’s new Gold Coast team. Consider this: his father, Gary Ablett Sr, one of the greatest players of all time, has moved to the Gold Coast.
His brother, Nathan, has also signed with the new team.
In addition to this, it was reported over the weekend that Ablett Sr had split from his girlfriend Lauren Phillips. As personal an issue as that is, it has added fuel to the fire.
The Gold Coast can also offer Ablett more money than he could get at Geelong under the current salary cap conditions. A multi-million dollar deal over, say, five years is surely an offer too good to refuse.
As the best player in the competition, he demands plenty.
Tony Lockett and Wayne Carey both left their clubs – albeit for different reasons – as champions of the AFL. Ablett Jr, currently, is a champion player.
But has he achieved what he can at Geelong? And is the offer from the Gold Coast simply too tempting to refuse.
Ablett Jr has two premiership medals, a Brownlow Medal and two best-and-fairest awards. He has been named in the All-Australian team the past three years.
In the eyes of the players, he has been the competition’s pre-eminent player for the past three seasons – winning the AFLPA Leigh Matthews Trophy.
Ablett Jr is the only player to win the award three times since it began in 1982. Given the fact it is voted on by his peers, it is an achievement which places him up there with the very best.
In the view of many, he was the best player on the ground in his team’s 2008 Grand Final loss to Hawthorn. His list of awards is long, and he will only add to it.
When Nathan and Gary Jr played in Geelong’s premiership-winning side of 2007, in front of Gary Sr in the stands, it was a family affair. We though both were destined to be at Geelong for an extended period.
Then Nathan lost interest in football, while Gary Jr has to weigh up whether to finish his career as a one club player.
We all know he loves Geelong. That won’t change if he leaves.
But if your father and brother moved interstate and you, as a champion footballer, were offered a large sum from a team based in that state, what would you do?
For now, the Geelong champion will focus on helping the Cats to a third flag in four years in 2010.
He might also view that as an appropriate end to a stunning career at Geelong.