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Scott: No hiding Ablett

Ben Guthrie - AFL Media  December 19, 2017 2:38 PM

Chris Scott sees Gary Ablett Jnr in his midfield plans - Geelong Cats,Chris Scott,Gary Ablett

Chris Scott sees Gary Ablett Jnr in his midfield plans

GEELONG recruited Gary Ablett to be a midfielder first and a forward second, coach Chris Scott says.

There has been plenty of conjecture about how the Cats are planning to best deploy the dual Brownlow medallist, and how the former Sun will fit into an onball unit already bursting with class and experience remains an intriguing subplot for the season ahead.

"We didn't bring him (Ablett) in to be a forward," Scott said.

"Like a few of our players like (Nakia) Cockatoo, (Patrick) Dangerfield, (Joel) Selwood, (Mitch) Duncan, (Sam) Menegola, (Mark) Blicavs – we think they can play forward but they're mids.

"We brought Gary in to be a midfielder."

However, Scott said he had little doubt that Ablett will also spend plenty of time in attack in his first season back at Geelong since leaving the club at the end of 2010.

"He didn't come to us and say, 'I think I'm almost cooked here, can you hide me in a forward pocket for a couple of years and I'll snag you 30 goals a year,'" Scott said.

"He has an aspiration to help the team as much as possible and we all believe that's in the midfield first."

Ablett, 33, averaged 33 disposals from 14 games in his final season at Gold Coast, winning his fourth best and fairest award despite being limited by injury.

Scott said the injury issues that plagued the eight-time All Australian last year have not been a factor in the training he has been able to complete so far this pre-season.

Ablett missed two games this year with a shoulder issue. The star onballer underwent a latarjet procedure to strengthen his troublesome left shoulder in May 2016, following the keyhole surgery he opted for when he first dislocated his shoulder in 2014.

Essentially, as part of the latarjet surgery, Ablett had a piece of bone and muscle removed from elsewhere in his shoulder and screwed to the front of the joint, acting as a block to stop it from dislocating again.

Ablett also missed one game with a calf complaint last season and six matches due to a hamstring injury.

Scott said Ablett had not shied away from completing the hard work with teammates this pre-season.

"His motivation has impressed me," Scott said of Ablett.

"He's training really well. He's got a desire to show his competitiveness on the track and he wants to instill that in some of the young guys as well, which is what we were after [when we pursued him]."

Scott said the club would not place any restrictions on the amount of games Ablett, who turns 34 in May, plays in 2018.

"We don't have any intention of limiting him at this stage but we'd need to have a contingency there," Scott said.

"He would be one of a group of players that if we saw some signs we might be a little more proactive than we might with others.

"If he did miss any games (through resting), we wouldn’t expect he'd play as little as 14 games or anything like that."