Geelong veteran Gary Ablett is keen to play again this AFL season despite leaving the club’s Perth hub to return home to Melbourne.
Ablett played in Thursday’s 22-point loss to Collingwood at Optus Stadium but flew back to Melbourne on Saturday to be with his family.
The 36-year-old recently revealed his son Levi had been diagnosed with a rare and degenerative disease.
On Friday night, his wife Jordan posted a photo of Levi on her Instagram account and tagged The Royal Children’s Hospital as the location.
Ablett addressed his teammates on Friday night to tell them about his impending departure, and also of his desire to return.
“Gary’s intention is to return to the hub at some stage,” Geelong’s football operations manager Simon Lloyd said.
“His intention, he said this to the group last night, he wants to get back and playing and his objective is to help Geelong win a premiership this season.
“He’ll continue to train when he returns to Geelong.”
Ablett will miss games against Fremantle and West Coast in Perth at the very least.
If Geelong move to Queensland as expected after their Perth hub, Ablett can rejoin them there.
But given he’ll need to quarantine for at least 14 days, it appears Ablett will be unavailable to play for at least a month.
Former Cat Andrew Mackie, who retired at the end of 2017 but is part of Geelong’s recruiting team, will become Ablett’s training partner in Victoria.
Mackie is in the process of being tested for COVID-19, and will be able to train with Ablett when he is cleared.
Ablett recently revealed his son’s health diagnosis in a heartfelt Instagram post.
“Some of you might already know that (my wife) Jordan is caring for her mum as she battles with cancer,” Ablett wrote.
“But what many of you don’t know is that our son has been recently diagnosed with a rare and degenerative disease.
“We thank you for your love and support and want to emphasise just how grateful we are to be Levi’s parents. He is a true blessing to us and our family and we love him so deeply.”
Meanwhile, Geelong are optimistic defender Jordan Clark will be able to play again this year, possibly within six weeks.
Clark dislocated his right shoulder against the Magpies but he won’t require surgery.
Skipper Joel Selwood underwent scans on his right hamstring injury, and he appears set to miss the July 27 clash with Fremantle.
Geelong defender Tom Stewart is a strong chance to return in that game from a broken collarbone.
Mitch Duncan (hamstring) is also on track to come back.