Cats give younger Ablett time away - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats give younger Ablett time away

30/11/2007 09:55:03 PM Comments (0)

Reluctant AFL star Nathan Ablett walked out Geelong pre-season training, throwing into question his career and rocking the Cats premiership defence.

Ablett approached Geelong's leadership group at lunchtime to request leave, citing "extra pressure" for the sudden break.

The 21-year-old son of former Cats legend Gary has been set no timeframe as to when he must return to the club, raising questions about whether he would be back at all.

Ablett's sudden departure comes 16 years after his famous father also walked out on the Cats because of a lack of enjoyment.

It also comes just days after Gary Snr spoke publicly about his battles with depression, drugs and the death of a teenage woman in his company.

"Nathan met with the club's leadership group to explain his position and they are supportive of him and wanted to help him get in the best frame of mind for the 2008 season," Geelong's general manager of football operations Neil Balme said.

"He explained to the club's leadership group and the coaching staff that he was feeling extra pressure and all parties felt it best that he take time away from the club.

"Nathan is not the first AFL player to go through this and the club is supportive of his need to take time away from the club."

A Geelong spokesman could not outline the exact reason for Ablett's sudden departure and said it was only speculative to link his walkout with the release of his father's autobiography in the coming weeks.

Champion full-forward Gary Snr, one of the AFL's greats, returned to Geelong after five months out of the game before eventually retiring in 1996 without ever winning a premiership medallion.

Nathan Ablett and his older brother, club champion Gary Jnr, achieved that feat this year when the Cats swept to a massive grand final win over Port Adelaide.

The Ablett family are notorious for being a reclusive family and often shy away from media interviews.

But it has been the youngest Ablett Nathan who has found adjusting to the fame of the AFL hardest.

He initially repelled the Cats recruiting attempts, preferring to playing local football for Modewarre, but was finally drafted under the father-son rule at No.48 in 2004.

However, his rise to the AFL ranks took longer than expected for Geelong as he struggled to cope with the intense scrutiny of professional football.

He debuted in 2005 but played just 11 games over two seasons until his watershed year this season.

Ablett established his role in the Cats potent forward line, booting 34 goals in 21 games to be Geelong's second highest goalscorer.

He played a significant role in Geelong's record-breaking grand final victory over Port Adelaide, booting three goals as the Cats swept to a massive 24.19 (163) to 6.8 (44).

The Cats returned to pre-season training on November 21, but in just over a week the younger Ablett has decided to take time away and possibly reconsider his career at the top level.

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