GEELONG'S ageing superstar Gary Ablett says he will take "hard" his inability to impact Saturday night's loss to Essendon at the MCG ahead of his GMHBA Stadium homecoming.

The dual Brownlow medallist won only 17 disposals, including a mere seven after half-time, in the 34-point defeat that looks set to cost Geelong its top-eight position by round nine's end.

Ablett, who again spent some time up forward, had no fewer than 26 possessions in any of his previous four matches this season.

He failed to compensate in other areas for his lack of touches, with just one tackle, one clearance, one inside 50, two rebound 50s and one behind to his name.

Cats coach Chris Scott didn't mince his words post-match, saying Ablett didn't play "very well", but was also quick to note he had plenty of teammates for company.

"It was a tough game for me tonight," Ablett said.

"I didn't get my hands on the ball as much as I would have liked, and I really pride myself on getting out and having an impact on the game and I felt I didn't do that tonight.

"So I'll go away (and) I'll take that hard.

"I'm so glad I'm still able to play football at the top level and I want to make sure that I can get out there and play my part for the team, so I've got to make sure I improve my game going into next week."

The last time the 34-year-old finished a game in the teens for disposals was round two last year while still a Sun, when he was widely criticised – perhaps unfairly – for a perceived lack of care.

Before that Greater Western Sydney clash, Ablett hadn't had a possession tally that low since 2008.

The Little Master's celebrated return to Geelong, where he won club best and fairests in premiership years in 2007 and 2009, has been met with mixed reviews so far.

Commentators questioned the impact of his disposals in the opening rounds of this season before a hamstring strain cost him a month of football and triggered queries on his body.

Wayne Carey even followed up with a brutal critique that the Cats might be better without Ablett, in part because of his perceived lack of defensive pressure.

Scott subsequently slammed Carey's suggestion, but knows the best response will be Ablett's on-field performance.

"Look, I just didn't have a good night tonight and that's OK, that happens," Ablett said.

"We all play bad games of footy. I'll bounce back next week – I'm confident of that."

Ablett will play at GMHBA Stadium as a Geelong footballer for the first time in almost eight years against Carlton on Saturday night.

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