Cats star Ablett motivated by criticism - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats star Ablett motivated by criticism

By Adam Cooper 08/09/2009 02:39:28 PM Comments (0)

Gary Ablett has revealed he was driven to raise the bar even higher after a former AFL great labelled him selfish and too focused on winning the Brownlow Medal.

The Geelong star created history on Monday night when he won a third successive AFL Players' Association Most Valuable Player award.

Ablett said afterwards the criticism directed at him by former Essendon champion Tim Watson had acted as a spur to drive him even further.

Watson said on radio in August that the Cats onballer was so desperate to win the game's highest individual prize that he had put himself before the team and kicked for goal instead of passing to better-placed teammates.

The sledge clearly served as motivation for Ablett in Geelong's next game, as he was instrumental in helping the Cats beat Sydney narrowly in round 20 and racked up 44 disposals, kicked a goal and laid four tackles.

Ablett said criticism motivated him to perform better.

"Yeah it does," he said.

"The industry we're in you're always going to cop criticism, people are always going to want to have their say about this and that.

"But if you let those kind of things affect you then you're never going to make it in this industry.

"It is something that does drive you to want to prove them wrong and get out there and do the best you can."

Ablett's teammate Joel Selwood said Watson's remarks were off the mark.

"To hear words like he's selfish and that is so silly because behind closed doors to see what he does at the football club, what he does on the ground...," Selwood said.

"It hurts as a teammate to hear words being said about Gary like that."

At last year's Brownlow count Ablett looked disappointed when overtaken by Western Bulldogs winner Adam Cooney.

Ablett was unsure how he would poll this year, but said he was more focused on helping the Cats win another premiership.

Geelong have this weekend off and play the winner of Saturday night's semi-final between Collingwood and Adelaide in the preliminary final.

But after 166 matches, Ablett is confident he can still take his game to a new level.

"Definitely, I still think I've got improvement in me," he said.

"I go into every pre-season and I look back on the season before and look at what areas I think I can improve my game in and how I think it can help the team best.

"You can always improve in areas.

"I think I'm just a very competitive person and I enjoy challenging myself."

Ablett was a runaway winner in the Leigh Matthews Trophy count, as he polled 688 votes on a 3-2-1 basis from other players, which put him clear of Collingwood's Dane Swan (584) and Carlton skipper Chris Judd (546).

Selwood, voted the league's most courageous player, said no-one else in the game close to Ablett.

"You just sit there in awe of him when you play with him ... you can't judge him because there's no-one else close to him," Selwood said.

"I just enjoy playing footy with him and I don't think I'll play with anyone else who's better than Gary."

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