Gary Ablett has announced the 2020 season will be his last in the AFL after ending speculation about his playing future by re-signing with Geelong.
- Gary Ablett said he was driven by the ambition of winning a flag with the Cats in what will be his 19th and final AFL season
- Ablett ended speculation he would retire in the wake of the Cats’ exit from the 2019 finals
- The Cats have also re-signed veteran Harry Taylor for next season
Ablett had been tipped by many to announce his retirement, before he agreed to a one-year contract extension with the Cats and confirmed he would hang up the boots next season.
“I’ll be putting in a lot of hard work during the off season to give myself the best opportunity to play my role well and perform at the level that I know that I can,” Ablett wrote on the website Exclusive Insight.
“But this is it. Next season, Year #19, will be my last in the game.”
Ablett, who is enjoying a second stint at the Cats following seven seasons with Gold Coast, said the ambition of winning a third premiership with the club was behind his decision to play on in 2020.
“I believe I can still meet and, to an extent, exceed my own expectations, and it is for that reason why I have agreed to terms with Geelong and penned a new deal to extend my career for a 19th season,” he wrote.
“I have no doubt in my mind that as a team we’re capable of winning the premiership next year, which is why I’ve decided to go around again.”
Ablett has played 345 senior matches for the Cats and Suns since debuting in 2002, winning Brownlow Medals at both clubs.
He was a member of the Cats’ premiership teams in 2007 and 2009 prior to linking up with the Suns in their inaugural AFL season in 2011.
The 35-year-old played 24 of a possible 25 matches for the Cats in 2019, helping the club win the minor premiership before they exited the finals at the preliminary finals stage.
But he did serve a one-week ban during the season, which was the first suspension of his career.
The Cats, who are set to lose Tim Kelly to the West Coast Eagles next season, also announced two-time premiership player Harry Taylor had extended his contract with the club.
It will be Taylor’s 13th season with the Cats, after 261 matches since his debut in 2008.
“Harry and Gary were both excellent players for us this year, and more importantly we see both as being able to contribute to us winning games in 2020,” Geelong’s general manager of football, Simon Lloyd, said in a statement.
“Their on-field efforts were there for all to see, and they also took significant time to invest in our large base of emerging talent, speeding the development of this exciting group of players.
“We are looking forward to both being part of our team in 2020.”