Gary Ablett is preparing to return to Metricon Stadium. Pic: AAP
Gary Ablett is preparing to return to Metricon Stadium. Pic: AAP

Ablett’s ‘mixed emotions’ on Suns return

GARY Ablett is bracing for his second homecoming in a week and admits he's in for another wave of mixed emotions ahead of his return to Metricon Stadium.

Ablett played his first game as a Cat back at Kardinia Park, the place where he has spent most of his life, in Geelong's victory over Carlton on Saturday night.

"It was a pretty special night,'' he said.

"Thinking about it during the week there was so many memories from my whole life, I played a lot of footy there and obviously dad had a really long career and was able to achieve a lot.

"The crowd was great, they love their footy there and it was exactly what I remembered, and a lot of my family was there too.''

This Saturday he will face the Suns for the first time in their long awaited return to Metricon Stadium after a two-month odyssey that took in Cairns, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Ballarat and China.

The Ablett name is royalty in Geelong and surely once he retires it will be celebrated at the Suns also.

Gary Ablett savours his return to Kardinia Park. Pic: Getty Images
Gary Ablett savours his return to Kardinia Park. Pic: Getty Images

He was the inaugural captain, won the first three club champion awards and then returned after three years ruined by injury to claim a fourth in his final year at the club.

Cats fans may not like hearing it but the peak of his extraordinary career came in a Suns jumper when he won his second Brownlow Medal and had an 18-month period between 2013 and the point he was injured in 2014 where critics were calling him the greatest player of all time.

"I played some of my best footy on the Coast,'' he said.

"In the early days we had a very young list and it takes a while to be able to do the basics right time and time again and I felt in those early days I was able to shoulder a lot of responsibility.

Ablett and Suns inaugural coach Guy McKenna after the champ announced his signing with Gold Coast.
Ablett and Suns inaugural coach Guy McKenna after the champ announced his signing with Gold Coast.

"And I was proud I was able to play at a high level for a long time, that is what I have always said is the sign of a champion.''

Ablett and wife Jordan have just sold their Gold Coast home and she will travel with him to visit their home one last time before it settles and share what he expects will be an emotional week.

"I am really excited to be coming back, the challenge of playing against some of my close mates excites me and we're looking forward to catching up with a lot of friends and hitting some old favourite cafes,'' he said.

"You have mixed emotions, I had that going into my first game against Geelong and I'm feeling it again, excited and nervous at the same time.

"Once you get out there the adrenaline takes over, it is the days before you think about it the most and the final hours before the game your mind can race.''

 

Ablett enjoys a goal against Carlton on Saturday night. Pic: AAP
Ablett enjoys a goal against Carlton on Saturday night. Pic: AAP

 

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Ablett with his 2013 Brownlow.
Ablett with his 2013 Brownlow.


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