Gary Ablett’s three-year-old son Levi, who suffers from a rare and degenerative disease, will walk the MCG alongside Joel Selwood ahead of Saturday’s grand final against Sydney.
The Cats skipper announced the news to SEN WA on Friday morning ahead of the grand finale parade.
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He was asked by Adam Gilchrist and Tim Gossage how much the Cats’ performance this Saturday would mean to club legend, soccer icon and two-time Brownlow medalist Gary Ablett Jr.
“I’ll let you in on a little secret: his son is going out with me tomorrow, which is very special,” Selwood revealed.
Ablett won two premierships from four major finals appearances for the Cats and was eliminated in the 2020 major finals loss to Richmond.
“I think it’s only fair that an Ablett performs on the big final day and it’s Gazza’s turn to cheer for his little boy,” Selwood said.
“This will be very special for the Ablett family, but also for Geelong believers.”
Selwood later told Fox Sports he “put his foot in” by sharing the news early on, adding the club wanted to make a moment of it.
Gary’s wife, Jordan Ablett, has spoken at length about the heartbreaking illnesses that have prevented her son from speaking a word for almost four years of his life.
Jordan said doctors prepared her and Gary for the possibility that while there are no guarantees, it’s now very likely Levi will never speak.
But Jordan told the Good Friday Appeal that while Levi is yet to say a word, “his life has been a constant message.”
“It’s really difficult from a practical point of view, but also very difficult just being his mother and not being able to hear his voice or knowing what he needs. If he gets upset, I have to guess what the problem is,” Jordan said.
“Although I have to say, despite his inability to communicate, I feel like over the years I’ve really come to understand him – I’ve had to place a lot of trust in my parents.
“It’s also difficult because I would just want to hear his thoughts, talk to my boy and know that he understands how much we love him.”
Selwood will lead the Cats to their sixth major final in the last 16 years he’s played all of them and knows that doesn’t come naturally.
“It’s an honor to play this weekend and it feels like a long time since the cutlery was brought back to Geelong,” he said.
“We’re due, we gave ourselves a chance and we just have to go out there now and do it tomorrow.”
The Cats pushed emphatically into the playoff, beating the Brisbane Lions by 71 points in a complete loss.
“We went out and were able to do what we had to do and do it at a high level,” Selwood said.
“We were pretty proud of what we could do and how we could play.
“And then to look further (for the other pre-round final between Sydney and Collingwood) you wanted them to beat each other up and play to the last minute and they were able to do that.
“As a footy fan more than anything, that’s what the footy was this year – the players and the coaches were able to bring a lot to the game.”
Young Geelong speedster Max Holmes has been called up to play but still has doubts about taking his place in the side after suffering a hamstring injury late in the game against the Lions.
“(We gave him) some pats early on when you probably thought it was doom and gloom, and then on Sunday when he went out for his first run, which I didn’t see, there was some pretty positive reporting about it. ‘ Selwood said.
“We didn’t see Max until Monday and when we saw him we were like, ‘Gosh, he’s really going to give himself a real chance here.’ It’s about leaving him alone. The decision is made by the medical staff.
“We have guys ready to go if Max doesn’t show up. But what he did – and it was super impressive for a kid who’s only 20 – is ask the right questions and put in all the time and work to give him a chance.”
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