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Gary Ablett could be faced with a mountainous conundrum

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Daniel Cherny

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Suns smash Bulldogs

Gold Coast Suns rocket into the top four with a 45-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Metricon Stadium.

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COMMENT

You only need to watch Gary Ablett's facial expression as he was denied the 2008 Brownlow Medal many believed was rightfully his - to realise that despite any protestations he may offer, the little bald master is a man who values individual awards.

Gary Ablett could become a free agent at the end of his next contract.

Gary Ablett could become a free agent at the end of his next contract. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

That is not to say he is not a team player, nor that he is selfish  or a poor leader. Though some of those accusations dogged him during the very early stages of the Gold Coast Suns' inaugural AFL season, when he was rumoured to be making frequent trips to Melbourne, such claims have long since drifted into the ether.

Ablett has moved beyond merely being the game's current pre-eminent player, to legitimately challenge for status as the greatest to have ever played the game.

Nevertheless, Ablett may on Monday night face a daunting conundrum which will challenge the very essence of what he stands for as a footballer. The Match Review Panel could perhaps decide that he has no case to argue for frustrated elbow poke at Bulldog agitator Liam Picken. As Chris Judd can attest to, the MRP can on occasion be prone to leniency when dealing with champions.

Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett could be scrutinised by the match review panel for this off-the-ball blow to Western Bulldogs' Liam Picken.

Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett could be scrutinised by the match review panel for this off-the-ball blow to Western Bulldogs' Liam Picken. Photo: Channel Seven

However it is well within the realm of possibilities that Ablett will be cited for recklessly making high contact to Picken, a charge which would draw 125 activation points. That is where the situation could become awfully delicate.

With an early guilty plea, Ablett could take a reprimand and not miss his third-placed side's trip to the Adelaide Oval and a date with the lukewarm Crows. This would be the standard response from the overwhelming majority of players, bar those who believe themselves to have been dealt with egregiously. Pragmatism trumps principle when the reprimand is on offer.

But Ablett's situation would be altogether different to that of your average player. Charges which carry more than 100 base points automatically rule the guilty player out of Brownlow Medal contention, regardless of whether they actually miss any football. It was this vagary of the system which almost denied Hawk Sam Mitchell the 2011 Brownlow.

An overwhelming favourite to win a record-equalling third Brownlow, such a choice would challenge the mettle of even the most selfless man. Not to put up a fight, with history beckoning, would doubtless be gut-wrenching for the game's most decorated player. But with the Suns pressing for a maiden finals appearance, martyring himself for the cause when faced with such a predicament would be a more powerful way of placing the team first than any act of courage on the football field.

Then again, if Gold Coast were to be well beaten by the Crows, and Ablett was left a Brownlow night orphan out in front with an asterisk next to his name, he would be made to ponder forever what might have transpired had he appealed rather than copped his whack in vain. There is no easy answer.

Twitter- @danielcherny

38 comments so far

  • First declaration I am not a Gold Coast or Geelong Supporter. If Gary Ablett (GA) gets suspended it is an absolute joke. The tactics employed by the Western Bulldogs on the weeked in my opinion were not in teh spirit of the game. GA was constanly knocked over by palyers who were not even watching the ball. There sole objective was to knock GA off his feet so he couldn't participate in the game. These sort of tactics must be stopped. If you are not good enough to beat GA on your merits thats bad luck,> i should know my team North melbourne gets smashed by GA every time he plays us. he is a champion and shoudl recieve protection form peopel whoes sole motivation is not getting the ball.

    Commenter
    Damian
    Location
    Toorak
    Date and time
    May 26, 2014, 12:59PM
    • Well said, Damian. The Dogs on Sunday reminded me of the bad old days of sheer thuggery when the likes of Tony Liberatore had the sole purpose was not to focus on the game, but to take out as many players out of the game as possible. They weren't as bad as that, of course, but there were enough moments that it raised some unwanted spectres.

      I'm glad the Dogs were soundly beaten. It proved that the Suns as a team have matured incredibly and improved out of sight since they started playing in the Seniors league.

      Commenter
      blu
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      May 26, 2014, 1:10PM
    • Get over it Damian. You talk like your team play - INSIPID and weak. Check out what happens to Ryan Griffen each week.

      Commenter
      Go North
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 26, 2014, 1:22PM
    • @Damien,

      I'm with you on this. As it so happens, I am also a North supporter.

      I kinda think now that GA is the greatest BC and/or AC player of all time.

      I love watching him play, and the tactics against the best players are just rubbish.

      GA should not be referred to the tribunal, and should be allowed to go to the crown and collect his 3rd brownlow.

      I just wish he wouldn't kill north, every time he plays. He's being doing this since he started as a youngster with hair.

      Commenter
      KAm i Am
      Location
      iWork
      Date and time
      May 26, 2014, 1:25PM
    • Nothing Picken or his team mates did was any different to any other team on any other star player. There's a reason why North gets smashed by Ablett, and that's you guys don't know how to tag. Ablett got the free kicks when they were there and didn't when they weren't. Griffen got smashed every time he went near the ball but you didn't hear him complain the the umpires.

      Commenter
      e
      Location
      melb
      Date and time
      May 26, 2014, 1:25PM
    • and to the guy winging about ryan griffen?

      Yes, you are right, he's a star, and he gets treated badly by taggers, and not looked after by the umpires.

      Even as a north supporter, I do love watching guys like griffen put the ball under their arm, and run, bounce, run, bounce...he reminds me a bit of dench, and more recently, david king.

      Commenter
      Kam i Am
      Location
      iWork
      Date and time
      May 26, 2014, 1:47PM
    • I remember how upset I was when Cory McKernan missed out on his deserved brownlow.

      It shouldn't ever be allowed to happen again.

      They should make make it that only 3 suspensions in a season should make you loose a brownlow.

      Like the 3 strike rule in the US criminal justice system..

      Also.

      BC = before Carey
      AC = after Carey

      Commenter
      Kam i Am
      Location
      iWork.
      Date and time
      May 26, 2014, 2:37PM
  • He should be banned from the sport for such aggressive behaviour toward another player.

    Commenter
    Sean
    Date and time
    May 26, 2014, 1:03PM
    • It's the AFL, they only care about nonsense accidental head contact caused by bumps, eg the appalling Fyfe and Roughead decisions. Intentional elbows are treated less harshly, so he'll get off, ps Picken deserved it, scragged him for the entire 114 minutes of the game and wasn't facing the ball at 90% of the stoppages..was a joke.

      Commenter
      Mike
      Location
      m1@gmail.com
      Date and time
      May 26, 2014, 1:12PM
      • Umps in this game were a disgrace. I'm not a Suns supporter, but Ablett was either held, knocked over or blocked by a player or two not facing the contest at every stoppage, it was a disgrace to watch really....someone puts a feather on Pendlebury, Selwood or Watson and they are penalised (not complaining about Pendles), why was this game umpired differently?

        Commenter
        John
        Date and time
        May 26, 2014, 1:17PM

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