Scans reveal full extent of Gary Ablett's grand final courage

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Gary Ablett, pictured here during the AFL grand final.
Gary Ablett reportedly played out the AFL grand final with a broken shoulder. Image: Getty

Gary Ablett reportedly suffered a broken shoulder in the AFL grand final, putting his courageous display in full context.

Ablett made his 357th and last appearance in Saturday night’s Gabba grand final, but had his dreams of a fairytale flag send-off dashed by rampant Richmond.

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The 36-year-old suffered a nasty shoulder injury in a tackle during the opening five minutes and was clearly hindered by the injury throughout the match, but came back onto the field and finished with 12 disposals.

The Age has since revealed that Ablett suffered a shoulder fracture and will see a surgeon in coming days.

According to The Age: “Sources said the retiring Ablett had scans on his shoulder...The scans showed instability with a crack which will be looked at by a surgeon.”

And Ablett wasn’t alone, with Geelong teammate Brandan Parfitt reportedly playing most of the match with a broken thumb.

Gary Ablett bids sad farewell to AFL

Ablett was given a guard of honour by Geelong and Richmond players - who paused their premiership celebrations to send him off - as he walked from the ground cradling the shoulder.

The disappointing end came on the back of a difficult year for Ablett, during which his young son Levi was diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease and wife Jordan lost her mother to cancer.

Ablett took to Instagram on Sunday to post a farewell message.

“What a journey it's been ... I'm sorry to all the @geelongcats supporters that we couldn't get it done for you last night,” he said.

“However, thank you for the way you have cheered us on throughout the 2020 season and through all of its challenges.

“I'm so incredibly proud of this group and the entire footy club.

“You have all, (including everyone involved in the @afl ) put so much of your time, energy and heart into making this season go ahead. THANK YOU!”

Gary Ablett, pictured here after the AFL grand final.
Gary Ablett was given a guard of honour as he walked from the field. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Ablett Jnr, the son of Geelong legend Gary Ablett Snr, was recruited under the father-son rule in 2001 and played 247 games for the Cats over two stints, either side of his seven years as the face of expansion club Gold Coast.

He exceeded the great expectations that followed him from an early age, winning the Brownlow Medal in 2009 and 2013 and being a central figure in Geelong's 2007 and 2009 premiership teams.

“I'm going to miss playing the game that I love and have loved since I was a kid watching my Dad play,” Ablett said.

“It has brought me so much joy!”

Ablett also paid tribute to winners Richmond and thanked his family.

“Congratulations to @richmond_fc what an outstanding achievement to have won your third premiership in the last four years. Well done!” Ablett said.

“I also just want to thank you very much for pausing your celebrations last night to send me off with a guard of honour.

“Lastly to my family, there's no way I could have achieved what I have without your constant love, encouragement and support ... I'm looking forward to what's to come for our family.”

with AAP

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