Geelong Cats defeat Gold Coast Suns: Gary Ablett’s perfect response to boos, sledges with big game

IF GARY Ablett thought he was in for a warm welcome for his Metricon Stadium homecoming, he was wrong.

But if the Gold Coast Suns thought the little champion would take it easy in the club’s first clash back at their home ground for 2018, they were very, very wrong.

In what quickly turned into a Geelong masterclass on Saturday night from quarter-time onwards, Ablett was back to his vintage best to rub more salt into the sorry Suns’ wounds.

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The 34-year-old kicked three goals — including a stunning running major from outside 50 in a throwback to Ablett’s prime — from 37 disposals and 13 score involvements to inspire the Cats to a massive 85-point victory over the Suns.

As Suns fans walked into the venue on Saturday night, Fox Footy producers asked them for any words of advice for Ablett ahead of his first game against his former club.

“Welcome back, Gazza … you’re dead to us,” said one fan.

Another Suns supporter added: “Seven years they say. Why didn’t you finish out your $ 1 million contract, hey? Talk to us! Bye.”

Come game time, Ablett was met with a chorus of boos every time he touched the ball.

The sad reality for Suns fans is they were booing a lot more than cheering, as Ablett won a mountain of disposals and Gold Coast managed a paltry four goals for the entire game.

But it wasn’t just supporters that Ablett showed up, with Suns players also left red-faced.

In the lead-up to the game, Suns co-captain Steven May had a cheeky dig at his former teammate, saying Ablett wasn’t the Suns’ chief concern because Patrick Dangerfield “is probably a bit more dangerous at the moment”.

Remember me? Gaz's sweet goal

Remember me? Gaz's sweet goal

0:31

So when Ablett nailed his first goal at Metricon Stadium as a Cat during the third term, May coincidentally happened to be the first Suns player Ablett ran into during his goal celebration. And he was happy to let May know all about what he was now missing out on.

Ablett showed he’s still got that little bit of magic in his 34-year-old twinkle toes, avoiding a lunging Alex Sexton with a sensational spin and sidestep.

“It’s the best he’s looked this year,” premiership coach Paul Roos told Fox Footy.

“He looks a bit quicker, a bit more mobile a bit fitter.”

The Suns commenced their Metricon homecoming in promising fashion, booting two of the first three goals. But as they began to turn the ball over by foot, they lost confidence and structure — and there were big consequences.

Geelong pounced on the Suns’ ineptness, booting 7.6 to just 0.1 in the second term alone. In fact the Cats had 123 disposals to the Suns’ 55 in the second quarter yet still laid more tackles (+3).

Gary Ablett of the Cats kicked three goals.
Gary Ablett of the Cats kicked three goals.Source: AAP

Perhaps the Suns’ incompetence and unaccountability was epitomised by how they played Mitch Duncan in the quarter. The gun Cats mid started off the back of the square and was allowed to do as he pleased, racking up 16 disposals for the term. By half-time, Duncan had 22 disposals and nine score involvements to his name — and just two contested possessions.

And come the main break, Suns coach Stuart Dew was fuming.

”I thought we were OK in that first quarter, but that was disgraceful in that (second) quarter,” Dew told Fox Footy of his side’s performance.

“We lacked accountability and our backs got caught out front, which really cost us out the back.

“This is our home ground. We need to put up a good performance and, at the moment, we’re getting taught a lesson.”

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And to make things worse for the Suns, three key players suffered injury blows during the game. Aaron Hall only managed just over a quarter after injuring his shoulder while tackling Joel Selwood, while Aaron Young was taken out of the game in the third term after he injured his foot. Then May rolled his ankle in the final term.

The percentage-boosting win saw the Cats jump into fifth on the ladder, while the Suns’ percentage dropped to 68.1 — the second-worst in the league behind Carlton.

Re-live the action in our live blog below. If you can’t see it, tap HERE.

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