Joel Selwood's 'special' AFL grand final act for Gary Ablett's son

·4-min read
Pictured left is Joel Selwood and former Geelong teammate Gary Ablett, whose son Levi is on the right.
Joel Selwood says he will run out with former Geelong teammate Gary Ablett's son Levi before Saturday's AFL grand final. Pic: Getty/Instagram

Geelong captain Joel Selwood has revealed details of a beautiful AFL grand final plan involving Gary Ablett Jr's son, Levi.

Selwood was part of the AFL's grand final parade on Friday, which saw fans descend on Melbourne's Yarra River as the players floated along on boats.

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However, the Cats skipper let fans in on a secret earlier in the day, when he spoke of the club's "special" gesture for his former teammate's son.

Ablett's little boy Levi was diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease that the retired AFL legend and his wife Jordan revealed in 2020.

Levi's heartbreaking condition means he will likely never speak and has a short life expectancy.

Just last month, Jordan Ablett revealed that the three-year-old Levi had been rushed to hospital shortly after a family holiday.

Three-year-old Levi Ablett had to be rushed to hospital after a recent family holiday. Pic: Instagram
Three-year-old Levi Ablett had to be rushed to hospital after a recent family holiday. Pic: Instagram

She said he was struck down with respiratory issues after they returned from a family getaway to the Gold Coast.

“Not the return we anticipated," she wrote on Instagram.

“Little man was taken to hospital yesterday morning after almost 3 weeks of struggling to fight something.

"Turns out his little body has been hit with TWO respiratory illnesses at the one time. He’s been resting up and is being cared for by amazing doctors.

"He had a great night sleep (not poor dad though) and is doing better. Our little champ!”

On Saturday at the MCG, however, Levi will be part of an AFL grand final experience he'll never forget.

Speaking with SEN WA Breakfast with Gilly & Goss, Selwood was asked whether he'd spoken about the grand final with Ablett, who he was best friends with throughout their time together at the club.

“I’ll let you in on a little secret — his son’s going to run out with me tomorrow, which is pretty special,” Selwood said.

“I think it’s only fair that an Ablett is performing on grand final day and it’s Gazza’s turn to cheer on his little son.

“That will be pretty special for the Ablett family but also the Geelong faithful.”

The shows co-host Tim Gossage said “That is beautiful”, while Aussie cricket great Adam Gilchrist added: “That is wonderful.”

Jordan and Gary Ablett's little boy Levi has been diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease. Pic: Instagram
Jordan and Gary Ablett's little boy Levi has been diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease. Pic: Instagram

Geelong great ponders Joel Selwood farewell

Levi's cameo appearance with Selwood is sure to be one of the most moving scenes at the MCG on Saturday, but a former Geelong captain says it may not be the only one Selwood is involved in.

Cameron Ling was the last Cats skipper to win an AFL premiership in 2011, and the club legend will be on hand to present the Premiership Cup to Selwood if Geelong are successful.

Ling retired after that premiership success, and says it wouldn't surprise him if 34-year-old veteran Selwood made the same call off the back of another Geelong grand final triumph.

Seen here, Joel Selwood of the Cats and Luke Parker of the Swans pose with the Premiership Cup during the 2022 AFL grand final parade.
Joel Selwood of the Cats and Luke Parker of the Swans pose with the Premiership Cup during the 2022 AFL grand final parade. Pic: Getty

“I don’t know inside Joel’s head if he’s got that same thoughts,” Ling told 7 News.

“It can’t hurt though, to finish on that special note. Hopefully he’s got that option.”

Geelong will go into Saturday's decider as deserved favourites on the back of a 15-match winning streak.

However, the Swans are on a hot streak of their own, with the thrilling one-point win over Collingwood in the preliminary final their ninth consecutive victory.

It means for the first time in VFL/AFL history, both grand finalists go into the decider with winning streaks of more than than six games.

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