The Geelong Cats may be taking a bit of a gamble in bringing back Gary Ablett, if having a two-time Brownlow medal winner on the side can be so characterised, but even if he were to split time with Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood, it would be reasonable to think that Ablett’s experience alone might supply a boost to a club that has been on the premiership fringes for several seasons.
The Cats will need nine lives, as they approach the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership completion with the third-oldest list in the league.
It seems to be an all or nothing approach, one we find appealing, but for the Cats, bringing in Ablett is far less risky than was the move by the Denver Broncos in 2012 to bring the surgically repaired Peyton Manning into town. That move resulted in a NFL championship for Denver in 2016.
Manning was jettisoned by the Indianapolis Colts and was three years older than Ablett when he switched to Denver.
Ablett is reasonably healthy, and along with Dangerfield, who would have had his second Brownlow were it not for an unfortunate suspension late last season, the Cats’ midfield looks to be the toast of the league.
Ablett struggled to stay on the ground during his last three seasons with the Gold Coast Suns, making only 34 appearances out of 66 chances.
Tim Watson, the former Essendon legend, is a proponent of the Cats’ strategy. “We have three of the greatest midfielders that have played the game in the last 50 years, all playing together at Geelong this year,” Watson told SEN Breakfast. (Do they indulge in lunch or dinner over there at SEN?)
According to some, notable amongst them being Watson’s SEN co-host Garry Lyon, if the Cats have a weakness in 2018, it would be the groups inside the 50s, but some of that could be attributed to the awe-inspiring midfield.