NATHAN ABLETT OFFICIALLY CALLS IT QUITS
By Ben Jensen GEELONG PREMIERSHIP FORWARD NATHAN ABLETT has officially told the Cats he no longer has the passion to play AFL football, but may play at VFL level next season, which begins with the NAB Cup clash with Melbourne at Skilled Stadium on 16 February. Ablett read a prepared statement at a press conference this afternoon. Nathan is the youngest of the Ablett brothers, Gary being the oldest. Although the Cats are resigned to Nathan not playing in 2008, he will remain on the Geelong list for the duration of the season.
The original bombshell was dropped five weeks ago, when Ablett took 'time out' to consider his future. At the time the club was hopeful of talking the talented young forward around but didn't want to pressure him into a decision.
Older brother Gary won the club Best and Fairest this season, and finished sixth in the Brownlow Medal, as well as winning a swag of other media awards, the AFLPA 'MVP' and the AFL Coaches Association best player award. Nathan has played 32 games for the Cats since debuting in round 20 against Melbourne, kicking two goals on debut. He kicked three goals straight in the Grand Final, a total of 34 for the season.
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Link: Nathan Ablett career stats http://stats.rleague.com/afl/stats/players/N/Nathan_Ablett.html
Coach Mark 'Bomber' Thompson was disappointed but remains hopeful Nathan will come back to the fold. "We would like to have a bit more time for Nathan to make up his mind completely. He hasn't made his mind up completely so we are hoping that one day he comes back, and that one day is pretty soon."
Thompson admitted he always had doubts of Nathan's mindset towards AFL football. "There has always been something about Nathan which we were a little bit unsure about. He's not really like a lot of other young men who are so passionate about the game and would do almost anything to play. But in saying that he has got enormous ability and we have not given up hope that he will play for Geelong again. If he needs a bit of time now, we will give him that time and support him whichever way we can. In the interest of football we hope that one day he gets back to playing."
ORIGINAL STORY - NATHAN ABLETT WALKS AWAY FROM FOOTY,
PREMIERSHIP FULL FORWARD Nathan Ablett has walked out on the Cats, to take time to reconsider his future. Ablett announced that he is considering retirement from the game but is in no hurry to make a decision. It is well known Ablett does not hold AFL level football as his top priority, but memorably played with his mates at Modawarre Football Club in the Bellarine Football Club. The news was not altogether unexpected; Ablett visited a Christian camp in the weeks following the grand final win and did not appear in the Grand Final victory parade in Geelong.
Geelong football boss Neil Balme said Nathan announced to the playing group on Friday his intentions. Nathan met with the clubs leadership group to explain his position and they are supportive of him and wanted to help him get in the best frame of mind for the 2008 season".
He explained to the clubs leadership group and the coaching staff that he was feeling extra pressure and all parties felt it best that he take time away from the club. Nathan is not the first AFL player to go through this and the club is supportive of his need to take time away from the club.
Next season, Geelong's first match is a grand final replay with Port Adelaide on a Thursday night at AAMI Stadium, while in the NAB Cup the Cats open up with a match at Skilled Stadium against Melbourne. The Cats travel interstate five times, including two trips to each of Perth and Adelaide; the other game being at Sydney's Telstra Stadium. Geelong's eleven home games are split between Skilled Stadium (8 games) and Telstra Dome (3).
The unfurling of the Premiership Flag is unlikely to occur until the second home game, but first at Geelong, against Melbourne in round three, however Brian Cook is considering recommending two unfurlings - one for the first 'home' game at Telstra Dome against the Bombers in round two.
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