'Sad' Gary Ablett theory prevails after Cats' AFL finals exit

Gary Ablett's decorated career may be over, with a bitterly disappointed Chris Scott refusing to be drawn on the veteran's future after Geelong were knocked out of the AFL finals.

The two-time Brownlow Medallist's intentions remain unclear after Richmond prevailed by 19 points in a thrilling preliminary final at the MCG.

Ablett gathered 21 disposals and kicked a goal but had relatively little impact in Friday night's 12.13 (85) to 9.12 (66) defeat.

It capped a disappointing September for the 35-year-old, who was held goalless and had little impact in both the qualifying final loss to Collingwood and the semi-final victory over West Coast.

After Friday night’s defeat, speculation was rife that the Cats legend was on the verge of pulling the pin on a decorated career.

Gary Ablett's future is up in the air after Geelong's finals exit. Pic: Getty

Fans on social media were convinced by suggestions that 2019 signify the end of Ablett’s playing days with the Cats.

A dejected Scott quickly shut down a question about Ablett's future after the game, saying it was not the time to address the issue.

Ablett started the 2019 campaign in strong touch but a dip in form in the second half of the year has added to the intrigue surrounding his future.

Arguably the greatest player of his generation, it is unlikely the 345-game veteran would continue if he felt unable to play at a high level.

Key defender Harry Taylor is also yet to decide whether he'll play on next season but the 33-year-old was among the Cats' best on Friday night.

Geelong appear likely to lose star midfielder Tim Kelly, who gathered 31 disposals and booted three goals to be comfortably their best player.

While Scott declared that Geelong would fight "tooth and nail" to retain the off-contract Kelly, he is widely expected to again request a trade to West Coast.

A dejected Chris Scott refused to be drawn on Ablett's future. Pic: Getty

Scott said that while the Cats weren't good enough to contend for the ultimate prize, they still had plenty of improvement in them.

"When the dust settles a bit, we'll rue the opportunity lost but look forward to finding a way to improve," he said.

"We've got a lot of players who will play together for a long period of time.

"Tom Stewart's already a dual All-Australian. You add (Mark) Blicavs to that who's virtually in that category in my mind. Jack Henry was a rookie, Tom Atkins, Gryan Miers ... there's a big group of players that I think are going to get better.

"Are they going to be (Patrick) Dangerfield, Ablett, (Joel) Selwood in the future? They're pretty rare, those type of players.

"But I think we've got the capacity to build a pretty even squad. And these experiences will be good for them."

With AAP