Ablett stars, facing MRO scrutiny

May 12, 2019 4:10 pm in by

GARY Ablett is facing AFL match review scrutiny for a second-straight week after another undisciplined act in Geelong’s 24-point victory over North Melbourne.

Having convinced the tribunal last week to overturn a one-game ban for striking Essendon’s Dylan Shiel, Ablett is highly likely to be cited for striking Kangaroos backman Sam Wright during Sunday afternoon’s 16.8 (104) to 11.14 (80) win at Marvel Stadium.

In a near-identical incident, Ablett left his feet, raised his forearm and made high contact with Wright after the North backman handballed to a teammate.

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Wright was quickly back on his feet and, unlike last week, Ablett – who was among the Cats’ best with four goals – was not reported.

But the clash is certain to be examined by match review officer Michael Christian, and the similarity of the incidents means two-time Brownlow Medallist and 329-game veteran Ablett is again at risk of his first career suspension.

Former Port Adelaide midfielder Kane Cornes told SEN radio it looked worse than the Shiel incident and Ablett was likely to cop a one-game ban.

The incident soured what was otherwise a hard-fought win for the top-of-the- table Cats, who absorbed everything thrown at them by a determined North Melbourne outfit whose performance belied their lowly ladder position.

Fittingly, it was Ablett who iced the victory for Geelong.

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The Kangaroos threatened an upset when Ben Brown’s fifth major pared back a 28-point deficit to two goals late in the final term.

Enter Ablett, who received a handball deep in the forward pocket and kicked a magical curling goal around the corner.

The 34-year-old then marked on the lead and kicked his fourth major to put the result beyond doubt.

Geelong were led magnificently by Brownlow Medal contender Tim Kelly, who gathered 36 disposals and 11 clearances – the majority during an absorbing, momentum-swinging third quarter – and also booted two brilliant goals.

The Cats started sluggishly but were far better all day at making their opportunities count and, ultimately, had too much class for their 17th-placed opponents.

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Shaun Higgins and Ben Cunnington were tireless for the Roos, while Mitch Duncan and Patrick Dangerfield were also important for Geelong.

There was confusion before the game with the Cats adding skipper Joel Selwood to their team then withdrawing him.

Initially named as an emergency after missing last week’s win over Essendon with soreness, Selwood was announced as a late replacement for Sam Menegola (knee) in the Cats’ team, submitted 90 minutes before the opening bounce.

Some 30 minutes later, the Cats declared Selwood unfit to play and named Charlie Constable as his replacement.

© AAP 2019

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GEELONG 3.0 8.3 14.6 16.8 (104)

NORTH MELBOURNE 1.5 4.8 9.8 11.14 (80)

Goals: Geelong: G Ablett 4 T Hawkins 4 J Clark 2 T Kelly 2 G Miers G Rohan L Dahlhaus P Dangerfield. North Melbourne: B Brown 5 C Zurhaar J Polec M Wood N Larkey S Higgins T Thomas.

Official Crowd: 21,156 at Marvel Stadium.


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