Geelong superstar Gary Ablett has showed no signs of slowing down in his 18th season. Picture: Michael Klein
Geelong superstar Gary Ablett has showed no signs of slowing down in his 18th season. Picture: Michael Klein

2020 vision? Ablett’s big plans for next year

Gary Ablett has given the strongest indication that he will play on next year.

The 35-year-old said improved physical conditioning meant he was "leaning towards" a 19th season.

Ablett will make a final decision after Geelong's finals campaign ends.

"I've always said I want to wait until the end of the season and make my mind up then, but at this stage I've been feeling really great this year, a lot better than last year and I'm probably leaning towards playing on again next year," Ablett said.

"There are a few things I need to weigh up.

 

 

 

"I need to talk with family, I need to speak with my wife, to see how next year might look like and to see how this year plays out. Obviously the goal is to win a premiership but if we do, that doesn't mean I'm leaning one way or the other.

"I've played 21 games this year. At the start of the year sitting down with the coaches and fitness staff, I probably expected I would have been taking a couple of weeks off but the body has been responding really well and I preferred to keep it going to keep up that conditioning. I'm just looking so forward to the finals."

 

Gary Ablett says he’s leaning towards playing one more season. Picture: AAP
Gary Ablett says he’s leaning towards playing one more season. Picture: AAP

 

 

Despite playing 19 matches last year, and averaging a highly respectable 29 possessions a game, Ablett was restricted at times.

This season he has been largely injury free and has moved from the midfield to half forward.

"The biggest focus for me pre-season was getting my body right. I had a lot of little niggles last year, in particular my hip, so it was a matter of spending plenty of time in the gym strengthening everything so the body was ready to take the heavy running load. Last year I wasn't able to go into games feeling as good as I would have liked," he said.

"I wanted to give myself every chance of playing at a high level, week in, week out,

"I trained there (forward) for the majority of the pre-season, learnt the structures, learnt the running patterns, and I've really enjoyed it. I'm super proud of the group and what we've been able to do this year, but it doesn't finish now."

Ablett, who is entering his second finals campaign in nine years, has played 342 games (435 goals) since being taken with Pick 40 as a father/son selection in 2001.

 

 

Gary Ablett says his body is feeling good. Picture: Michael Klein
Gary Ablett says his body is feeling good. Picture: Michael Klein

 

If the two-time premiership player and dual Brownlow medallist played on next year, he'd become the only remaining player from the 2001 draft.

Aaron Sandilands recently announced his retirement and Brisbane's Luke Hodge is expected to follow suit.

If Ablett continued next year, joining the few modern footballers who have played into their 36th year, he will prepare for pre-season at a health retreat on the Gold Coast in which he has become a partner.

"I have teamed up with Active Vacay (www.activevacay.com.au/tour/goldcoast/) a company that does fitness retreats," he said.

"I have already booked this year on the Gold Coast from October 20-26 to make sure I'm in good condition for pre-season should I continue. So if anyone wants to train with me, I welcome them to do so.

"It's an exciting concept with full-time chef, full-time PT, team activities, going around to spots on the Gold Coast, an opportunity to get away for a week, have some fun, eat well and surf. The plan is to do one in Byron Bay and Noosa as well, and then others countries like Thailand, Bali and the Maldives."

News Corp Australia


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