• The Geelong Cats intend to preserve Gary Ablett, junior, not senior, by moving him from the middle to the front for the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership competition.

    One of the best midfielders in the history of the game, Ablett is 34.

    We thought his escape from Gold Coast back to Geelong was the start of a ceremonial swan song, but Ablett is determined to play on. He would prefer to remain in the middle, rather than hiding in a forward pocket for a few years.

    Keeping Ablett as an onballer seemed to fit in with Geelong’s plans, at least until an elimination final dismissal at the hands and feet of the Demons last year initiated a strategy discussion by Geelong.

    Ablett is now toeing the company line, saying, “I sat down with Scotty in the off-season and we spoke about where I would be the best fit for the team and how I can help the team win games.”

    He should be able to kick some goals. His possessions per game would drop, but if he could supply the Cats with 30 goals, even perhaps as many as the 44 he kicked during his last season with Geelong before taking up with Gold Coast, it would make management look like geniuses, provided the Cats can go deeper into finals.

    Ablett booted 16 for Geelong last year. Not bad, considering that he mans the engine room, but it was his fifth worst haul. His last season with Gold Coast was injury plagued, but he was on for 19 games last year, so it would seem as though he has recovered nicely. Being at Geelong rather than Gold Coast would seem a powerful tonic.

    If he is on for the Cats’ first Round of the upcoming season, it will be his 322nd AFL game. There are lonely three active players ahead of Ablett for number of games played and a full fixture of 22 games would rocket him up inside the top-20 all-time.