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Ablett snr still better than son, says Tuck

Gary Ablett of the Cats in action during the 1995 AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the West Coast Eagles in Melbourne.
Michael Tuck still rates Gary Ablett snr as a better player than his son
GARY Ablett snr might think his superstar son might now be better than him, but the football identity who knows the family best of all is not so sure.

Michael Tuck, the AFL's games record holder who is the brother-in-law of Gary senior and the uncle of Gary junior, believes Ablett senior, the mercurial 248-game Geelong superstar, is still the superior player.

"I rate Ablett senior higher," Tuck told a function in Melbourne earlier this week. 

"In today's game, you can get two possessions in three seconds. You get it, give it off and get it back again. Gary senior always had one or two opponents hanging off him and had to get the ball himself. 

"He kicked over 1000 goals, and in the first five years he played on the wing and a half-forward flank. He also kicked nine goals in the losing Grand Final in 1989. I rate him very, very highly."

More than 150 football supporters were privileged earlier this week to hear both Tuck and Ablett snr speak at a joint fundraiser for The Smouldering Stump, an organisation that raises awareness of post-traumatic stress – particularly for those who remain affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires – and Maccabi Victoria, the roof body for Jewish sport in Melbourne.

Ablett spoke in depth about his son, saying the dual Brownlow medallist and Gold Coast skipper had exceeded all expectations.

"I do think he's starting to get into that stage where he arguably could be the greatest player to ever play the game. Perhaps he's not as spectacular as some, but when it comes to consistency, leadership and setting an example around the club you couldn't ask for a better guy."

Ablett said as long as his son's motivation levels remain high, there is no reason why he couldn't play 400 games and maybe one day threaten Tuck's record of 426 games. Ablett junior has played 260 games for Geelong and the Suns since his debut in 2002.

The Abletts are competitive by nature, he added, and a trait Gary junior shares with his father is a relentless drive to improve and reach his full potential. 

"With Gary, you have a combination of my competitive nature – he'd rather drop dead than let his opponent beat him – and the desire and the hunger to reach his potential," Ablett snr said. 

"That's taken him from where he was to where he is today, and going to the Gold Coast has been the catalyst for him to grow in other areas such as leadership and character. 

"He has grown as a person, not just a footballer, and that is a real credit to him."

Read more from Gary Ablett and Michael Tuck in this week's AFL Record, available at all grounds.