Gary Ablett speaks to Chris Scott at Cats training. Picture: Alison Wynd
Gary Ablett speaks to Chris Scott at Cats training. Picture: Alison Wynd

Ablett relishes move forward after chats with Scott

GEELONG champion Gary Ablett is eyeing a permanent forward role during his 18th AFL season.

The dual Brownlow medallist, who turns 35 in May, expects to spend most of his time in front of goals after having a split role in his return to Kardinia Park from the Gold Coast Suns last season.

Ablett has been training with the Cats forwards after discussions with coach Chris Scott on where he would be best deployed.

"I will spend a little bit of time through the midfield but I think I'll probably spend the majority of the time down forward this year," Ablett said.

"I sat down with Scotty in the off-season and we spoke through where he thought and I thought was the best fit for the team and how I can help the team win games ... it is going to be a new role for me but a role that I'm really looking forward to."

Arguably the greatest midfielder of his generation, Ablett averaged 29 disposals per game last season but finished outside the top 10 in the club's best and fairest count and was criticised for lacking defensive pressure.

The Cats are hoping Ablett's mature body will help him win contests up forward, given the more free-flowing play that is expected to accompany rule changes such as the introduction of starting positions at centre bounces.

Gary Ablett at Geelong Cats pre-season training.
Gary Ablett at Geelong Cats pre-season training.

While his freakish goal sense has allowed him to compile some astonishing highlights during his career, Ablett is focusing on playing an unselfish role.

"We didn't really talk about prolonging my career. It was more around where I can have the best influence on the team," Ablett said.

"I pride myself on using the ball well, so we spoke through (how) it might be next year.

"I'm only getting half the possessions I'm used to getting, (it's) just making sure I'm damaging with those possessions.

"I think an area of the game that's really important with some of the rule changes that have been put in place is being able to win one-on-one contests.

"We're putting a few of our stronger bodies down forward and hoping that we can hold the ball in our half."