It was like nothing had changed and yet everything had changed for Gary Ablett as he walked into a packed press conference at Kardinia Park.
The now 33-year-old looked fit and very familiar in the blue and white hoops of Geelong, as though his seven years on the Gold Coast were a distant memory.
The dual Brownlow medallist was traded back to Cats at the end of the AFL season and will now finish his career where it started.
“It’s exciting, it is a bit emotional and it probably hasn’t fully sunk in,” Ablett told reporters. “This is the club that I grew up supporting. I spent nine years of my football career here and I’m just super excited about coming back.”
Ablett said he had no regrets about making the move to the Gold Coast, but admitted the club’s lack of success was a tough pill to swallow.
“I feel I did all I could,” he said. “I think early days, the group probably wasn’t developed in the way that a lot of people would have hoped.
“But they’ve got great people around that football club and they’re heading in the right direction.”
Ablett, Dangerfield, Selwood will form powerhouse trio
Ablett has made no secret of his desire to return to Geelong to be closer to family.
He said his father, Gary Ablett Snr, was excited to see him back in Cats colours.
“He’s over the moon,” Ablett said. “The fact that he is based down here means we get to spend more time together.
“He is still saying to me he believes he can make a comeback and kick his three or four a game, so you never know, we might be able to get a spot for him on the list as well.”
Ablett is likely to spend time on the Geelong forward line but admitted the prospects of playing alongside Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood in the midfield was enticing.
Suns player Gary Ablett during the round 15 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the North Melbourne Kangaroos.
“I feel that I can offer a lot to the list with my experience and my football ability as well, so I’m looking forward to just coming back and fitting in wherever the coach thinks I can help out,” Ablett said.
“I feel I have got some good years left in the midfield and then I may drift forward after that.”
Ablett will officially return to training with the Cats next month.