GARY Ablett's premiership teammate Jimmy Bartel has no problem with the fellow Brownlow medallist returning to Geelong to finish his career – and believes if he doesn't he'll retire. 

Bartel, 33, was victim of the Cats' purge on older players in recent years, effectively being forced into retirement.

Ablett turns 34 in 2018, but Bartel says Gold Coast's franchise player is "an exception to the rule". 

"Gary will be at Geelong, or he'll retire," Bartel declared on Channel Seven, reacting to last week's developments

"No matter where you rank players in history, (in) everyone's top five there's Gary Ablett jnr." 

Geelong forward Tom Hawkins would love to be reunited with his 2009 premiership teammate. 

"I've felt a bit sorry for Gary from afar," Hawkins told ABC Radio. 

"He's obviously one of the greatest players. 

"It'd be unfair for me to speculate on what his playing future is, but he's a high calibre player."

Ablett is contracted to the Suns until the end of 2018, but last week reaffirmed his position from November last year, that he's no certainty to play on after the 2017 season. 

Last October the former Cat asked the Suns to trade him back to his hometown, but it was immediately knocked on the head.

Ablett's primetime television interview has put the Suns in an awkward position, having been steadfast in insisting he would not be traded.