Cats move on after Ablett defection - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats move on after Ablett defection

29/09/2010 07:57:30 PM Comments (0)

Geelong chief executive Brian Cook has denied the Cats were "betrayed" by Gold Coast-bound star Gary Ablett, but admits he's disappointed.

In a horror week for the Cats, coach Mark Thompson is considering stepping down because of acute burnout and 2009 Brownlow Medallist Ablett has announced he's joining new team Gold Coast.

Ablett fronted Cook on Wednesday morning to explain his decision before the champion rover donned a red polo shirt and faced a media conference in Melbourne with Suns coach Guy McKenna.

"We would have liked to have known earlier. I think betrayal is too strong a word," Cook told reporters on Wednesday.

"We're disappointed. He has withheld some information but he hasn't lied to us or he hasn't betrayed us in any way.

"We've always supported the introduction of the two teams (Gold Coast in 2011 and Greater Western Sydney in 2012).

"This unfortunately is one of the negatives.

"If someone said to me 'if you are going to lose your best player, would you still vote for the two expanded teams?', I'd probably have a re-think.

"The reality has hit us and we've lost our best player and we just have to get on with life."

The Cats are undecided on how to use their two first-round draft picks.

Cook says decisions such as the playing future of 33-year-old defender Darren Milburn will wait until Thompson's coaching future is settled next week.

Thompson and Ablett are both scheduled to speak at Geelong's best and fairest dinner on Thursday.

Geelong's two compensation picks can be used in any of the national drafts from 2010 to 2014 with the value of the picks determined by which year they use them.

"You've got current players who for some time have been accepting probably 20 per cent less than their market value," Cook said.

"Do you try to reward some of those or do you pick a high-profile player and trade or do you do a combination of both?"

Cook insisted Geelong's successful era - including premierships in 2007 and 2009 - was far from over.

"We finished in a preliminary final this year, we have a very strong list ... a playing list which has I think 13 All-Australians," he said.

"If you've read a lot of the media today, some may think that we are just about to fall off the cliff.

"Nothing could be further from the truth.

"Sure we've got a few issues at the moment. But we'll get through these like we have every other time."

Ablett's contract is believed to be $1.9 million a season for the next five years.

"Clearly he would have loved to have stayed but he probably couldn't turn his back on the opportunity," Cook said.

Cook said the club had been preparing two versions of a 2011 membership campaign, one with Ablett's image and one without.

"We can't do anything about Gary Ablett now," Cook said.

"He's gone. He's off our website.

"There is no doubt the club will go into another phase. We're not talking about a major upheaval."

Skipper Cameron Ling said the Cats players were "a bit shattered" but determined to continue the club's successful run.

"We've never relied on one or two players. It has always been at team effort," Ling said.

"People can say what they like. We're going to be right up there.

"We're certainly aiming to be playing in the last week."

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