The early days of footy retirement have been treating Gary Ablett Jr well if his Instagram page is anything to go by.
With a disrupted footy season that saw the Geelong great travel back and forth between the AFL’s hub in Queensland and Victoria, where he recovered from an early-season injury with wife Jordan and son Levi finally behind him, Ablett has been making the most of his newfound free time.
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The family seem to have taken a liking to Queensland since families of AFL players were permitted to join them in the league’s hub several month ago, with Ablett sharing a snap of the family on Instagram captioned ‘A fun day spent with the family at Turtle Bay.’
Fans enjoyed the update, which was also posted to Facebook.
“Beautiful photo of a beautiful family,” Marlene Taylor wrote.
A family holiday will be something of a relief for the family after a difficult start to the year.
A post shared by GARY ABLETT (@garyablettjnr) on
The AFL season was the least of their worries, with the death of Jordan’s mother Trudy and 'Levi’s diagnosis with a rare degenerative disease combining for an overwhelming few months.
Prior to Ablett’s final AFL game in the recent grand final, Jordan opened up about the tumultuous year and how the family had banded together through it.
“It was really, really hard. Because the diagnosis came when mum was towards the end of her journey ... we just had a lot of things happen all at once,” Jordan said on Channel 9.
“So yeah, we are in this together and it is what it is. And yeah, we are just taking it day by day.”
The 34-year-old said despite the tragic nature of Levi's degenerative health condition, he remains a happy boy, with a bubbly personality.
“He’s doing well. He does have his challenges that we as a family are facing on a day-to-day basis,” Jordan said.
“But in saying that he’s so determined, and like you said, he’s just so smiley and has such a joy for life.”
AFL trade period set to spice up
AFL trade period player movement is expected to kick up a gear from Monday, with star forward Jeremy Cameron leading a host of big names yet to learn where their playing futures lie.
Cameron (GWS), Adam Treloar (Collingwood), Josh Dunkley (Western Bulldogs), Ben Brown (North Melbourne) and Essendon duo Adam Saad and Orazio Fantasia are all among the group of players in limbo after the jostling of clubs during the opening few days of the annual exchange window.
The trade period, which began last Wednesday, concludes this coming Thursday.
It is playing out with clubs still in the dark about the size of next year's playing lists and salary cap amid AFL-enforced cost-cutting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The "bizarre" situation - as described by Melbourne chief executive Gary Pert - serves as an unusual backdrop that makes this period tricky for clubs to successfully navigate.
Cameron has been the subject of a tug-of-war between Geelong and GWS, who matched the Cats' bid for the restricted free agent in order to force a possible trade.
The 2019 Coleman Medal winner formally requested a move to Geelong and the two clubs remain in contact.
The Cats hold three first-round draft selections after securing extra picks from West Coast in a trade for midfielder Tim Kelly last year, and could be forced to use one or more of those in their efforts to land Cameron.
The Giants have already secured troubled forward Jesse Hogan from Fremantle in exchange for pick 54, and are hopeful of landing a first-round draft selection from Essendon in exchange for wantaway midfielder Jye Caldwell, who was taken with pick 11 in the 2018 draft.
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