Ablett misses Hall of Fame honour again

Monday, May 20

GEELONG president Frank Costa says it's only a matter of time before Gary Ablett is inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Costa said the man, regarded by many as the greatest to ever play the game, would get his chance at future AFL inductions.

``It is not as though he won't enjoy that honour,'' Costa said yesterday.

``There is no doubt he will get in. I think they are thinking it is premature.

``I am dead certain it will happen and it will happen in the next five years,'' he said.

``I'm not upset. There is no hurry. He will get in.'' Support grew over the weekend for Ablett, now 40, who has again missed out on being inducted into the elite Hall of Fame. This year's gala function is in Melbourne tonight.

But Ablett's manager, Michael Baker, has condemned the selection panel, headed by John Kennedy, claiming the criteria which prevented Ablett's selection must be ``pretty high and strict''.

One Hall of Fame criteria states: ``. . . . the committee may consider a candidate's individual record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship and character''.

Baker told radio yesterday Ablett had taken the cold shoulder very well.

Ablett failed to gain the necessary three-quarter majority necessary from the 13-person committee.

He was overlooked last year after the death of 20-year-old Alisha Horan from a drug overdose while staying in a hotel room with Ablett in February two years ago.

Coroner Noreen Toohey found that Ablett was so affected by drugs and alcohol that he was unable to assist - or save - Horan.

The Hall of Fame committee is headed by Kennedy and includes Michael Sheahan, Kevin Bartlett, Lou Richards, Brian Atkinson, Max Basheer, Peter Nixon, Joan Kirner, Percy Beames, Michael Moncrief, Caroline Wilson, Harry Gordon and Tom Reynolds.

Those eligible for inclusion into the Hall of Fame tonight include Jason Dunstall, John Platten, Jim Stynes and former Swan Paul Roos.

Ablett became eligible in 2001.