Essendon's Dylan Shiel cops an elbow from Geelong's Gary Ablett at the MCG on May 5.  Picture: Julian Smith/AAP
Essendon's Dylan Shiel cops an elbow from Geelong's Gary Ablett at the MCG on May 5. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP

Ablett takes offence to 'sniper' talk

GEELONG great Matthew Scarlett might have taken it as a compliment to be labelled a sniper, but Gary Ablett definitely does not.

Geelong coach Chris Scott defended Ablett again on Thursday after the AFL great found himself in hot water for two on-field incidents over the past fortnight.

Scott said they were issues of technique, not intent.

Ablett was offered a suspension for striking Essendon's Dylan Shiel - the first ban of the dual Brownlow Medallist's storied career - but it was reduced at the tribunal to a fine.

The Geelong forward was then cleared of another high hit on North Melbourne's Sam Wright, even though the AFL called it an intentional striking action.

Scott compared Ablett to Scarlett, the former Cats fullback now coaching their defenders.

Scarlett was unafraid to ruffle opposition feathers during his playing career and was renowned for being a tough player.

"He (Ablett) takes offence to people suggesting that all of a sudden after 330-odd games, he's decided, 'I'm just going to go around and throw my arms towards players' heads and hope I get away with it,'" Scott said.

"He acknowledges he has a little bit of a technique flaw, but in terms of malicious intent I would rate it at a zero.

"If now, all of a sudden, people think he's a bit of a sniper, he'd be uncomfortable with that.

"Let's say Matthew Scarlett, if I can embarrass him a little bit. If people said, 'Matty, we think you're a bit of a sniper', he'd almost take it as a badge of honour."

Scott again stressed the problem with the two Ablett incidents was how he tried to block opponents after they had handballed.

The Cats coach said he had sympathy for North Melbourne's Sam Durdin, who was suspended for an incident that left Cats forward Gary Rohan with concussion.

Scott also suggested that rather than Durdin serving his suspension this week, it should happen the next time they played Geelong, who are coached by Scott's twin brother Brad.

"My brother would be rapt to hear that, just an idea,"' Scott said.

Also on Thursday, Scott said Cats midfielder Sam Menegola was unlikely to return before their round-13 bye after having knee surgery.

Veteran defender Lachie Henderson, who has only managed one senior game this season, will miss another two to three weeks because of a planter fascia rupture in a foot.

But Rohan could played against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday despite his concussion, while captain Joel Selwood will probably resume after two weeks out.

Tom Stewart hurt his neck against the Kangaroos and is also set to play against the Bulldogs.

Scott stressed Stewart had no concussion issue in the North game.

- AAP

News Corp Australia

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