WHETHER Geelong champion Gary Ablett returns to the playing field this season is entirely up to him – and coach Chris Scott will support him either way.
Ablett and wife Jordan have endured a tough period in their personal lives, with the passing of Jordan's mother last Sunday following on from last month's news their son Levi had been diagnosed with a rare and degenerative disease.
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Geelong wore black armbands in Friday night's win over Port Adelaide to support the family.
Scott said whether the veteran flew to Queensland to join his Cats teammates in the hub was the least of his concerns.
"I am going to keep my message to the Abletts private," Scott said.
"What I will say publicly is that we love them and will support them as much as possible.
"If that meant that he wasn't going to play football this year then so be it."
Scott said Geelong would support the family for "the rest of their lives".
"Gary has had several concerns that he has been working through over the last year or so, it would be great to have him back if we could get him back," he said.
"If he needed to stay (home) then we are right behind him as well."
Of less concern to Scott is his team's form, thumping the competition leaders by 60 points just four days after hammering previously second-placed St Kilda by 59.
The Geelong coach said his team was not getting ahead of themselves ahead of a nine-day break before taking on winless Adelaide in round 13.
"We are happy, absolutely," he said.
"I don't mean to talk it down, but I am just wary that this is a bit more unusual than previous seasons and we are conscious that the good teams will have their moments.
"I couldn't be happier with the outcome and with the way we have approached, not just the games over the last few weeks, but the whole situation.
"There has been an air of positivity around the whole club."
It was a different message coming from Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley, who was disappointed with his team's flat performance.
Although describing the Power's third loss of the season as an outlier, Hinkley said there was plenty to learn.
"We didn't win enough contests, we didn't have enough energy for the contest. Geelong had the energy for the game," he said.
"Geelong cleaned us up big time.
"We've been a pretty consistent team all the way through this season. We'll learn from tonight, we have to learn from tonight."
Tom Hawkins gave Port's defence headaches all night, kicking six goals, giving off two others and being involved in 12 of Geelong's 21 scores.
Although Hinkley agreed the Cats spearhead outplayed opponent Tom Clurey, he laid the blame on his midfield.
"It's really simplistic to look at it and 'Hawk' won his battle, he certainly did that, but we all know that's a result of what goes on up the field as much as anything," Hinkley said.
"If we can get pressure on the ball, Hawk doesn't get the looks he does.
"He can slip, he's got great forward craft, he's a pretty talented player.
"Our backline needs support, like every backline does if you're going to be effective, and that's by putting pressure on up the field."