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THE LONG-AWAITED deal to give Gary Ablett his fairytale homecoming has finally been done, with the superstar returning to Geelong in a swap of draft picks.
He was given a two-year deal by the Cats.
Geelong gave up No.19 and a second-round selection in next year's NAB AFL Draft in exchange for Ablett, No.24 and Gold Coast's fourth-round selection next season.
The Cats received No.19 as compensation for Steven Motlop's move to Port Adelaide as a restricted free agent.
Ablett asked for a trade in 2016 but an agreement between the Cats and Suns could not be reached.
Geelong list manager Stephen Wells told reporters on Thursday there had been no guarantees his club would land Ablett.
"It was good that Gary ended up at Geelong. It was no certainty all the way through the Trade Period but in the end, the Gold Coast did what they said they would do," Wells said.
"We've given up a bit to do that in next year's draft and also this year's draft, but it's a great story, Gary coming back to Geelong, particularly having won a best and fairest this year and still having plenty of good footy ahead of him."
The 33-year-old told Gold Coast officials again of his desire to return to the Cattery in late September despite having a year left on his contract.
Gold Coast had demanded a best-22 player in exchange for the dual Brownlow medallist but no names could not be agreed upon.
Darcy Lang considered a move to Queensland but ultimately nominated Carlton as the side he wanted to play for and was traded there on Thursday.
Suns CEO Mark Evans paid tribute to Ablett, who spent seven seasons at the club.
"It's important for the Gold Coast Suns, and for Queensland football, to acknowledge Gary's contribution to the club," Evans said.
"He's been a terrific servant, just a great player, we completely respect and understand the circumstances as to why he's asked to return to Victoria and we wish him and (wife) Jordan and all of his family the very best."
Ablett won the Suns' club champion award despite having lined up in just 14 games this season.