Bartel says injured Ablett not done yet
WHETHER he plays again this year remains to be seen, but Gary Ablett has three more years left in him, so says former Geelong teammate Jimmy Bartel.
Ablett (pictured) will be sent for scans today after the Gold Coast skipper reinjured the shoulder he first hurt two years ago during the win over Brisbane.
“People might laugh but (North Melbourne veteran) Brent Harvey is going strong at 38 and Gazza hasn’t moved to that role yet as a high half-forward,” Bartel, who was picked from the same draft as Ablett in 2001, told Channel 7.
“He’s still playing 100% midfield — in the contest, you know, wearing his body down — so once he makes that progression, he’ll only extend his career even further.”
For that to happen, however, he will need a strong contingent of midfielders available next year.
There will be increasing emphasis on keeping out-of- contract pair Jaeger O’Meara and Dion Prestia, with Ablett’s vice-captain Michael Rischitelli suffering a serious knee injury at Metricon Stadium, and likely to miss much of the 2017 season.
Returning from a patella tendon injury, O’Meara got through three quarters with the Suns’ reserves on Saturday.
Touk Miller (27 disposals, 11 tackles) at least showed what he is capable of as an onballer with a best-afield display against the Lions, the 20-year-old winning the Marcus Ashcroft Medal.
There’s no worries when it comes to tall timber for the Suns, however, with Peter Wright, 19, continuing his rapid development, kicking five goals and taking 12 marks in his 13th game. Tom Lynch also chipped in with five majors of his own.
Fellow forward Ryan Davis was yesterday in awe of the pair.
“They’re just clunking everything,” he said. “You get front and square every time (ready to rove), but they take it most of the time.”