Jimmy Bartel and Gary Ablett chat after the Cats had defeated the Suns in 2011
GEELONG'S administrators have not given up hope that Gary Ablett might one day return to the club.
The champion midfielder will lead Gold Coast into battle against the Cats on Saturday night, in what will be his first game back at Simonds Stadium since he defected to the Suns in 2010.
There has been much talk about what sort of reception the man who sits at No. 1 in the Official AFL Player Ratings
will receive from the Geelong faithful.
But Cats chief executive Brian Cook has no doubt that Ablett will be welcomed home.
"I think they'll give him a big applause, and he does deserve it," Cook said. "In my opinion, he's the best player in the AFL.
"We were very, very unhappy to lose him, but that was the name of the game and the need for a national competition.
"I think he will get a lot of cheers. I don't think he will get any boos at all. The people love him here. They love his father and they love him.
"And you never know, in three or four years he just may consider coming back our way, who knows.
"It's on the radar. No one's taking it seriously. I think it's more a dream, I suppose, than anything else.
"It's a bit adventurous, but we could do a lot worse."
Ablett played 192 games for Geelong between 2002 and 2010.
Now 29, he played in the Cats' 2007 and '09 premierships, won the club's best and fairest in both of those years and also won the Brownlow Medal in 2009.
Adam McNicol covers Geelong news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter at @AFL_AdamMcNicol