It’s been on the cards for some time, but it’s now official: Gary Ablett Jr has his eyes set on a return to the Geelong Cats in 2018, requesting a trade with the Gold Coast Suns.
“Gary Ablett today informed the club of his desire to be traded to Geelong during next month’s exchange period,” Suns chief executive Mark Evans said in a statement today.
“We indicated to Gary and his manager Liam Pickering that there are conditions that will need to be met for the Gold Coast if this is to be achieved.
“Scott Clayton will be available to meet with Liam and Geelong to ensure these conditions are met.”
Speculation has been rife throughout 2017 about Ablett’s future, with whispers the two-time Brownlow Medallist was eyeing off a move home surfacing early in the season.
Ablett made his name at the Cattery, winning the first of his Brownlows and his two premierships with Geelong before heading to the Gold Coast to captain the Suns in the club’s debut season in 2011.
Ablett continued his form as one of the best players in the AFL – if not the best player – in his early seasons with the Suns, earning All Australian selection in his first four years on the Gold Coast and his second Brownlow Medal in 2013.
That stellar play never translated into team success for the Suns, though, with the expansion club consistently failing to make the finals.
The last two seasons have seen Ablett’s form drop off as he struggled with injury, but he was still able to claim Gold Coast’s best and fairest award in 2017 despite only playing 14 matches for the club.
The move back to Geelong, should it eventuate, will give Ablett one last shot at a premiership, as a midfield combination of him, Patrick Dangerfield and club captain Joel Selwood will have the Cats in genuine flag contention in 2018.