Geelong great Gary Ablett junior says he is open to coming out of retirement and rejoining the Cats through the mid-season draft, in order to play in the finals.
The 357-game superstar, who retired after the Cats’ Grand Final loss to Richmond last October, made the call in an interview with the Herald Sun.
The dual Brownlow medallist revealed he spoke to Cats list management official and former teammate Andrew Mackie during the pre-season.
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“I said ‘mate, if you had let me know you were recruiting those guys I would have stayed around for another year’,” Ablett said.
“He (Mackie) had a bit of a laugh and I said ‘if there is such a thing as a six or seven-game contract please let me know because I will be ready for the last three or four games of the season and finals football’.”
Asked whether he could be fit enough to play AFL footy by August, Ablett said: “I’m doing a lot of shoulder rehab at the moment to get it strong and I’ve started running and building on my fitness.
“Yes, I am retired and enjoying the time with my family but if Geelong put that to me, then I am open to that conversation. I would then have to weigh it up. I feel as if my shoulder is a couple of months away from being as good as it’s going to get.”
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Ablett played at an All-Australian level in 2019 and then showed enough in 2020 that he would have clearly earned another contract if he had wanted to play on.
Western Bulldogs great Brad Johnson said the idea was tempting, but Hawthorn champion Jordan Lewis said it would be “wrong” for Ablett to take away a list spot for another player on such a short-term basis.
“It‘s a no from me, I think you take away an opportunity for a player that’s been there and done everything right up until that point, to get someone in with four or five games to go would be wrong,” Lewis said on Fox Footy.
Johnson added: “Off his injuries (would I consider it), probably not, but it‘s tempting isn’t it?
“When you hear Gary Ablett junior, and him putting his own hand up, it sort of would make you think a little bit.”
A Nine report said “sources close to (Ablett) said on Saturday that such a return was not likely” and pointing out Geelong does not have a spare spot on its list.
Ablett and Harry Taylor will be celebrated with a special farewell at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday, ahead of Geelong’s game against North Melbourne.
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