CATS COACH SUPPORTS HONOUR FOR ABLETT
Geelong coach Mark Thompson has supported the decision to induct controversial former Cats superstar Gary Ablett into the AFL Hall of Fame.
Ablett has been shunned by the Hall of Fame for the past four years because of off-field indiscretions, particularly his presence on the night 20-year-old Alisha Horan died of a drug overdose in 2000 in his hotel room.
Ablett later pleaded guilty to charges of possessing and using drugs and was fined $1,500.
He will not attend the induction ceremony on Monday night, and his son and current Geelong player Gary Ablett junior has also declined to accept the award on his behalf.
The job will go to Cats chief executive Brian Cook.
"It's better that we just move forward. (Ablett) was going to be in it, let's put him in," Thompson said.
"The big issue was when he was going to be inducted. That's obviously going to happen on Monday night.
"We'll face that and talk about it ... move on and his name will be in the Hall of Fame, where it deserves to be.
"Look, he just put so much entertainment and excitement into the city, he was one of the greatest players to play for the club, he really brought people along to the football and entertained them."
Thompson was also supportive of the younger Ablett's decision to skip the induction night.
"It's totally Gary's call. I think just the behaviour of the family (meant) that was never going to happen," he said.
"Gary senior is his own person and Gary junior is his own person and we respect both people for that.
"He's (Gary junior and Nathan Ablett's) father, they would have been coming to the football watching him play.
"(They're) just so proud of their father and seeing him into the Hall of Fame I am sure that's no different."
The Hall of Fame admission criteria includes that the committee "considers players on the basis of record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship and character".
"They're the rules and it's not for us to decide the rules but in saying that, Gary Ablett the footballer was just one of the most sensational things to ever happen (to the game)," said Thompson.
"And (he's) right up there with some of the best players to ever play the game, so it was inevitable in the end that he made it into the Hall of Fame."
Ablett retired in 1997 after 248 games and 1,030 goals with Hawthorn and Geelong.
The second-placed Cats take on 15th-placed Collingwood at Telstra Dome on Friday night.