Ablett to wear No.4 at Geelong

Nov 30, 2017 - 11:43 PM Returning superstar Gary Ablett has put another serious tilt at an AFL premiership firmly on the agenda in his second coming at Geelong.

Before departing for Gold Coast seven years ago, the dual Brownlow medallist was a key member of the Cats' outfits which won the 2007 and 2009 titles.

In the first year post-Ablett, the Cats won a third flag in 2011.

They have qualified for the September action in five of the past six years - including preliminary-final exits in 2016 and 2017 - without again making it through to the title decider.

Family reasons were central to Ablett requesting a trade back to Geelong, but he also has unfinished on-field business at his hometown club.

"I am looking forward to having a good pre-season and getting out here - hopefully playing some finals footy and having a crack at that premiership," the 33-year-old said on Friday after revealing he would succeed close friend and former teammate Andrew Mackie in the No.4 jumper in 2018.

"I won't go too far ahead but that's why we play football - to play in grand finals.

"Obviously two preliminary finals for this group in the last couple of years and that's where I'm excited.

"I really think I can help the group in a lot of areas.

"I want to come in and work with the younger guys, help develop them and obviously on game day as well."

Ablett played 192 games in his first stint at the Cats, and a further 110 in a seven-year stretch at the Suns which delivered a second Brownlow medal, four club best and fairest awards, but precious little in the way of team success.

With Cam Guthrie now the owner of the No.29 which Ablett previously wore at Geelong and Nakia Cockatoo donning his famous father and namesake's No.5, the midfield maestro had to search for a new jumper.

The vacant No.11 was a possibility, as Ablett had worn it with distinction as a junior with the Geelong Falcons.

It was also donned by his father when he won a premiership for country club Drouin as a teenager.

But No.4 had even more appeal.

"Mack is a really close mate of mine - I've got a lot of respect for the person and the footballer he is and how he's gone about his career," said Ablett of Mackie, who retired at the end of the 2017 season after 280 matches with the Cats.

"When I found out the No.4 jumper was going to be available I found it a pretty easy decision."

Source: AAP

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