Gary Ablett requested a trade to Geelong in the off-season.
Gary Ablett requested a trade to Geelong in the off-season. DAVE HUNT

Ablett welcome back at Geelong, say Johnson, Bartel

GEELONG premiership stars Steve Johnson and Jimmy Bartel would have no issue with a Gary Ablett Cats homecoming despite having their careers in the hoops cut short.

Ablett dropped a bombshell last year when he requested a trade back to Geelong for family reasons before last month declaring this season could be his last in the AFL if a move can't be orchestrated.

Geelong fans would love Ablett to return to the club and coach Chris Scott even said last year he has "always held onto the pipe dream that he might come back one day."

But given the Cats have moved on a number of ageing premiership heroes including Bartel, Johnson and Paul Chapman in recent years, some have questioned whether it would contradict the club's list management policy to trade for Ablett.

Johnson, who signed with GWS after being axed by Geelong, would have no issue with Ablett, who will turn 33 this month, returning to the club.

"Yeah there's got to be," Johnson said of an Ablett exception to the list management policy. "That name is just infamous with the Geelong footy club.

"I don't think Jimmy (Bartel) or myself would have an issue with them bringing in a 34-year-old of Gary's calibre."

Bartel was moved on by Geelong at the end of last year despite triggering a clause in his contract granting him an extra season.

But he also wouldn't begrudge a Geelong-Ablett reunion.

"His dad has a grandstand named after him, so the Ablett name and Geelong goes hand-in-hand," Bartel said on Channel 7.

Ablett helped lead Gold Coast to an upset win over his former club on Saturday night, with 32 disposals and a goal in the victory.

The superstar dual Brownlow medallist is contracted to the Suns for season 2018 but admitted last month he will likely seek a move home again at the end of the season.

"I've got some things going on in my life that, you know, I'm not going to elaborate on, but they are my number one priority at the moment," he said.

"I'm super committed to this year. I'm going to give it everything. But I don't know what 2018 holds for me.

"I will sit down with the club at the end of the year, we will talk through that and I will work out the next step for me."

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