It's official: Ablett requests trade back to Cats
GARY Ablett has officially informed the Gold Coast Suns that he wants to be traded to Geelong.
The two-time Brownlow Medallist and his manager Liam Pickering have told the club he wishes to return to the Cats.
"Gary Ablett today informed the club of his desire to be traded to Geelong during next month's exchange period," Gold Coast chief executive Mark Evans said.
"We indicated to Gary and his manager Liam Pickering that there are conditions that will need to be met for the Gold Coast if this is to be achieved.
"(List manager) Scott Clayton will be available to meet with Liam and Geelong to ensure these conditions are met."
It is understood that in formally requesting the trade, Ablett has told the Suns he will retire if he is not granted his wish.
Ablett repeated the stance - which is unchanged from early this year - on Tuesday that he wanted a trade back to his old club for family reasons and that if this did not happen, he would retire with one year remaining on his contract with Gold Coast.
"He said he would retire. He told them today," Pickering told Foxfooty.com.au.
But the Suns have told Ablett that their preference is to keep him and while the Ablett camp was "hopeful" a deal could be struck with the Cats, Pickering acknowledged the trade "won't be a walk in the park".
Geelong will hand Ablett - who is contracted on little more than $500,000 for 2018 - a two-year deal if and when he makes his prodigal return.
While the Suns have already indicated that they wish to receive a player from Geelong and for the Cats to pay for the player's wage - compensating them for Ablett's frontloaded contract - Pickering said he did not know any particular players that the Suns wanted from Geelong in an exchange.
Pickering said Ablett's request for a trade was about returning home to be with his family, the champion having made the same request this time last year. Pickering said the position "hasn't changed about wanting to be back around family".
Pickering confirmed that the Suns had told Ablett and himself that they wished to retain the dual Brownlow Medallist.
Ablett was the Suns' inaugural captain and has spent seven seasons at the club without playing finals. The midfielder played nine seasons at Geelong before that.
Ablett won the Suns' best and fairest award this season despite playing just 14 matches.
He has polled 122 Brownlow votes while at the club in 110 eligible games. The next best are Aaron Hall and Tom Lynch, who have polled 27 votes respectively.
Geelong coach Chris Scott said earlier this month that he believed a move for Ablett back to his original club was "impossible" based on the asking price.
"If the obstacles I'm hearing are correct and factual then they're too great," Scott told the Nine Network.
"I think we've been consistent on that, but there's always room for things to change.
"But if some of the obstacles that have been articulated are true then it's just impossible.
"It's not a matter of wanting to do it or not - it's just impossible."
Ablett requested a trade to Geelong before the start of the 2016 trade period as well. The Suns quickly dismissed the idea at the time.
"Gold Coast was very clear on the fact he was their player and will continue to be their player," then-Geelong head of football Steve Hocking told News Corp.
"He had just signed a three-year deal earlier in the year. They were very clear on that and shut it down very quickly to Gary.
"We respected their opinion right from the word go. It was him looking to come back to the club and it was all to do with him and the Gold Coast.
"It didn't drag on too long, it was shut down by the Gold Coast."