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Return of the Gaz? Cats' leaders in the dark

Harry's task, sad Swans, Tigers' hit-out Saturday Footy Feed with Matt Thompson
Gary Ablett's potential return to Geelong remains up in the air - AFL,Geelong Cats,Gary Ablett
Gary Ablett's potential return to Geelong remains up in the air

GEELONG'S leadership group is yet to be consulted on whether the club should pursue an off-season trade to bring Gary Ablett back to the Cattery. 

The Gold Coast midfielder and ex-Cat is yet to officially inform the Suns of his plans for next season. 

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Last year, the Suns denied Ablett's trade request to return home to Victoria and the club he played 192 games for between 2002 and 2010, and he remained in Queensland.

The Cats haven't directly said they want him back, and coach Chris Scott has even used the word "impossible" to describe the permutations required to orchestrate a trade that would suit the Suns. 

It has been confirmed the Cats' current leadership group will be consulted about whether they see Ablett a worthy investment, considering the cost – financial and player related - the contracted midfielder will come with.

But no such discussion has been held yet, with the Cats focusing solely on their finals campaign.  

"No, I definitely haven't been in a meeting, that's for sure, with Gary, and we haven't even really spoken about him," leadership group member Mitch Duncan told 3AW on Saturday.

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"We'll leave that to 'Hock' [Steve Hocking] and 'Wellsy' [Stephen Wells].

"We haven't discussed it as a leadership group as yet … maybe a bit later down the track when the timing's right, but at the moment, we'll leave that to 'Wellsy' and 'Hock' before he gets up to the big house [at the AFL]." 

Duncan, Tom Hawkins, Scott Selwood, Mark Blicavs and Cam Guthrie are part of the leadership group, with Harry Taylor and Patrick Dangerfield vice-captains under skipper Joel Selwood.

Meanwhile, the Cats have a number of free agents to deal with as well as working out how best to orchestrate a potential Ablett trade. 

Tom Lonergan and Andrew Mackie are retiring, and Josh Cowan is unrestricted but his future remains unknown with injuries restricting him to 16 games since his 2009 drafting. 

Daniel Menzel (unrestricted) and Steven Motlop (restricted) are the intriguing ones, with the former being shopped around by his manager after unsatisfactory negotiations with the club.

Motlop's future remains cloudy, with Cats' CEO Brian Cook recently revealing the club was open to offers, but would also be happy to keep him.

Both Duncan and Patrick Dangerfield spoke glowingly of Motlop on Saturday, after his impressive, pressure-filled performance in the Cats' 59-point win over Sydney. 

Duncan said criticism regarding Motlop's consistency this season was unjust, given his "sacrificial half-forward role". 

"He creates so much space, his running power is elite and he's probably one of our best game-day runners," Duncan said. 

"In that half-forward role, you don't get the reward every week. Especially internally, we value what he's bringing to the side.

"He got his reward last night, which was a bonus, but his work ethic is pretty much the same every week. 

"He might not lay a tackle, but he's still creating space for other teammates to lead into.

"He's really invested at the moment and for the past three or four months, I couldn't fault him." 

 

Dangerfield compared Motlop's running output to former steeplechaser Mark Blicavs, and said it could get frustrating to hear critics of his disposal rate. 

"I don't think people always understand the game," Dangerfield told SEN.

"Externally, people might say, 'Steven Motlop has only had 15 possessions', but he's run 15km and he's opened up space for others to be dangerous. 

"He's got a huge hunger to win and to be great, and that's what I love about Steve. 

"I think his leadership this year has really increased. His direction with our younger players, his ability to speak up in meetings … he just understands the game. 

"When he speaks, it makes sense, and it hasn't changed when his performances have been poor – he's still been vocal, voicing his opinion on how we can improve, and I think that's the sign of a good player." 

 

Dangerfield also said the Cats were not distracted by the commentary about Motlop's future.  

"As a player, it's not my role to comment, that's what the powers that be are in charge of," he said.

"For Steve and for us, it's about controlling what we can control, and that's our destiny over the next few weeks.

"That'll sort itself out."

Dangerfield also denied his successful move to full forward on Friday night was dictated by soreness, and conceded it wouldn't necessarily reap the same rewards if repeated against Adelaide.