IT'S OFFICIAL: ABLETT GREATEST CAT EVER
By Ben Jensen GARY ABLETT SENIOR was officially named the Geelong Football Club's greatest ever player at the Cats' Tales function in Melbourne tonight. Ablett, father of current players Gary Junior and Nathan, was voted best ahead of fellow number five, legendary ruckman Graham 'Polly' Farmer.
All current and former Geelong players were given the opportunity to vote. As well as voting on the greatest ever player, the best player of certain eras were voted. Naturally Ablett won his era, and Farmer his. Other winners were founder Thomas Wills, legendary player and coach Reg Hickey and 1963 premiership coach and 1951-52 premiership player Bobby 'Unbelievable' Davis.
Unfortunately neither Ablett Senior nor Davis were present. Ablett, who spoke of his pride for son Gary Junior's efforts to the Herald Sun this week, is recovering from an accident. Ablett apparently ran over his foot with a lawn mower.
ABLETT prerecorded a message, played to those present:
Its a tremendous honour to be voted by the past and present players as the best player at the Geelong Football Club. Im sure several other players could be included in that. Playing AFL/VFL football is a journey with ups & downs and highs & lows. I would like to congratulate every player there (tonight) to have played at the AFL/VFL level for the Geelong Football Club.
Id like to thank the Geelong Football Club for giving me a second chance to play league football. Id also like to thank all of the supporters. The players couldnt reach he levels and our potential without you.
Ablett played 242 games for Geelong, kicking 1,021 goals, joining in 1984 after a year in the bush. In 1982 Ablett played at his at the time more famoust brothers' club Hawthorn, playing six games and kicking nine goals.
He won a Norm Smith Medal as best on ground in the final VFL Grand Final of 1989, when the Cats memorably came just six points from a premiership. While Ablett never won a premiership, he did achieve almost all there is besides a Brownlow Medal.
Ablett played mostly as a wingman or half forward up until 1993, when then coach Malcolm Blight moved him to full forward on a permanent basis. Ablett went on to kick 124 goals for the season, winning the first of three successive John Coleman Medals for the league's leading goalkicker. His returns for 1994 and 1995 were 129 and 122 goals.
Although only winning one club best and fairest in his first season, he was named in the All Australian side seven times; named in the AFL Team of the Century; named in the AFL and GFC's Hall of Fame; club captain 1995-1996; and represented Victoria eleven times.
Perhaps his proudest achievement is as a father to three children, two of whom reside in Geelong's current forward line.
Player of the Pioneer Era (1859-1896)
Player of the Corio Oval Era (1897-1940)
Player of the Post War Era (1941-1959)
Player of the Colourful Era (1960-1983)
Graham Polly Farmer
Player of the National Era (1984-2006)
Gary Ablett Senior
THE ABLETT GALLERY http://www.liquidrock.bizhosting.com/garyablett.htm
GEELONG LEGEND GARY ABLETT SENIOR IN ACTION AGAINST ESSENDON, 1993 (THE GAME HE KICKED 14 GOALS)
ABLETT'S MARK OF THE CENTURY (1994)