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Deck of Dream Team

Gary Ablett Jnr – Deck of DT 2017

Is the Little Master done? Anthony profiles the former GC skipper.

Image result for gary ablettName: Gary Ablett Jnr
Team: Gold Coast
Position: Mid
AFL Fantasy: $611,000
Bye Round: 9
2016 Average: 101
2016 Games Played: 14
Predicted Average: 95

Click here for DT Live profile.

Why should I pick him?

GAJ is the little master for a reason. When he was on top of his game the question wasn’t whether to pick Ablett but whether you would ever risk taking the captaincy off him.

His potential to hit an absolute monster score has set him apart and etched his name in DT Royalty. His previous high scores of 186, 176, 174, 168 and countless scores ranging between 120 to 150 over his career are all fresh in the minds of anyone who has played Fantasy in the past 5 years. But is he past his best? If you’re picking him you’re hoping the answer is no!

Last year he still showed us glimpses of the brilliance he’s capable of. He jumped into round 1 with an interrupted preseason and no NAB games to post a 134 against the undermanned Essendon side. He then had a great run after returning from a concussion in round 10 to post 4 scores in a row over 120 all while copping various tags against West Coast, Sydney, Richmond and Hawthorn. This in itself proves Ablett is still capable of putting up the big scores we hope for.

While Ablett has been plagued by injury the last couple of seasons, Eade playing him more as a forward this year will possibly lessen the body contact you’d generally receive as an inside midfielder in an aim to keep his body fresh longer. As it was Ablett’s shoulder that has been the main concern, suffering repeated dislocations, we can take heart in the fact that he opted to undergo the Latarjet procedure, which is expected to prevent recurrent anterior instability in approximately 94-99% of cases.

With less midfield time we may expect to see a drop in Ablett’s score but Gold Coast have proven that even in a losing side they can get the ball to their forwards. Last year they only won 6 games but still managed to have Tom Lynch finish 4th in the race for the Coleman.

With his shoulder seemingly fine and brutal role dealing with close checking taggers being possibly limited, we could certainly see a return to Ablett’s glory days!

Image result for gary ablett

Why shouldn’t I pick him?

As mentioned above, Ablett underwent the Latarjet procedure last year which does greatly reduce the risk of further issues. At the time of writing this however, Ablett is still not taking part in any contact drills and Gold Coast has released their intentions to only have him play in the last match of the JLT series. This isn’t unusual for Ablett as he would usually only play one round of the preseason comp to get into the season but after the amount of trouble his shoulder has put him through, you would think he would want more time mentally to get comfortable with it before the season starts.

While he has been a Fantasy god in his career, there is no escaping the fact that he is getting older. At 33 this year and with the way he has played the game it is no surprise that his body is feeling the toll. His shoulder has been a recurring issue over the last 3 seasons (which has hopefully been remedied now) but it hasn’t been his only concern. His 2015 season was cut short after round 17 due to a knee issue and he missed the 2016 preseason with a toe injury. All up in the last 3 seasons Ablett has missed 33 out of a possible 69 games.

Recently we’ve seen Eade talking a lot about Ablett’s role moving forward.

With Aaron Hall having a stellar season, Matt Rosa showing his worth, the return of David Swallow, emergence of Fiorini, the addition of Barlow, Lyons and Hanley together with the young talent Gold Coast drafted in the off season it is obvious that they are looking at establishing their midfield without Ablett. In a recent interview Eade mentioned that he’ll be aiming to spread Ablett’s playing time between 60% Forward and 40% Midfield.

While I have no doubt in GAJ’s ability to still find the ball in the forward line and (as mentioned above) Gold Coast’s ability to get the ball to their forwards, his best scoring games recently (around the 120 mark) are when he accumulates a lot of the ball and lays 8 or more tackles. Both of which are incredibly hard to accomplish inside the forward 50. While I was unable to find last years data, I know that Jamie Cripps had the most tackles inside his forward 50 in 2015. This averaged to 5.16 a game. If we’re hoping that Ablett will offset these scores by kicking more goals and we know that 3 tackles are worth 12 points, then Ablett needs to average 2 goals a game just to make up for that. Which of course being Ablett is entirely possible, but then we need to start thinking about how many more he needs to offset the drop in disposals. In short, the more time Ablett spends in the forward line, the less likely it is that we will see the 120’s that make him appealing.

Deck of DT Rating.

KING – Honestly this rating has been excruciating. On one hand it just seems absurd that GAJ isn’t an ACE but on the other hand a part of me feels like even KING may be too high for what he may produce this year.
I feel we are spending too much money on too much unknown with Ablett this year to be able to confidently start him. Will his shoulder hold up? Will he get much time on the ball? Will he travel to China?

I personally won’t be starting Ablett but I will be keeping an eye on him. We should have answers to the above questions by his round 9 bye, which means he could be an amazing upgrade target to bring in for cover during the bye rounds.

Worst case scenario is that Ablett sits in the forward line while getting his mojo back and then become eligible as a cheap forward option when he returns to Geelong in 2018!

Will Gary Ablett Jnr be in your Fantasy side this year?

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FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER: @Anthonydsmith86 for all thing AFL Fantasy (and more). Got something to say about the deck? Use the hashtag… #DeckofDT.


Joining the DT Talk writing team in 2013, Anthony is a West Coast boy (man, we have a lot of Eagles lovers here) and he will bring us plenty of great content again this year. @anthonydsmith86.



  1. Avatar

    Gary Ablett Snr

    February 9, 2017 at 8:29 am

    If my boy can play 18-20 games this year and play mostly FWD he will kick 60 goals and be a top 8 FWD by season end. I think he will either be the most traded in player in round 10 or that might be…I cant say it, you know what I am thinking…

  2. Avatar

    Paulie Walnuts

    February 9, 2017 at 9:37 am

    In the past few years Gaz was one of the first players I selected in my team. This year I won’t be starting with him as I think there are players in much better form. Don’t get me wrong Gaz is a gun and one of the best players ever but I think this year I won’t to see how he goes first then pick him up a bit later in the season if he is in form. Knowing my luck he will probably score 140+ every week and as soon as I pick him up he will do an ACL or something.

    • Avatar

      February 9, 2017 at 9:38 am

      “I won’t to see how he goes” = “I want to see how he goes”

      • Avatar


        February 9, 2017 at 10:43 pm

        “one of the best players ever” = “the best player ever”

        • Burger


          February 10, 2017 at 2:43 pm

          You obviously didn’t see his old man play!

          • Avatar


            February 10, 2017 at 7:49 pm

            What makes you so sure? Was actually at the ’89 Grand Final and saw him plenty of other times too. Jr can’t take the hangers his old man could, but in all other aspects he’s got him beat. Errr, except number of goals kicked. He’s better than Lethal too!

  3. Euman


    February 9, 2017 at 9:54 am

    If Gaz gets dpp at round 6

  4. Avatar


    February 9, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Up to 50 in his first quarter starts sec quater gets injured. Like usual. Pass no thanks only reason he wants trade to Geelong because it will be his final year.

  5. Avatar


    February 9, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Three years of this injury history should mean the “no discount” special treatment should be forgotten by now. Way too expensive for a 33 year old who misses half the games.

  6. Avatar


    February 9, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Not much love for the “GOAT” anymore. It’s a sad time in fantasy. The only way he will make my team too unfortunately is after his bye if he gets dpp.

    • Avatar


      February 9, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      Like Swanny last year… couldn’t bring myself to go to the well once too many times. And we all know how that ended :(

      Still want to kick Brent Macaffer in the nuts for ruining Gaz in the absolute prime of his (DT) footy career.

  7. Avatar


    February 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Looking for a really competitive league, particularly AFL Fantasy players who rank in the top 15% or so. Set up an 18 team league, similar to AFL, starts round 1 head-to-head, added in Roy, Calvin and Warnie as players into the league so 15 spots left. Feel free to join, private league code is: UJWVHL4D

  8. Avatar


    February 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Looking for a really competitive league. Set up an 18 team league, like AFL, starts round 1 head-to-head, added in Roy, Calvin and Warnie as players into the league so 15 spots left. Feel free to join, private league code is: UJWVHL4D

    • Euman


      February 9, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      I have joined your league, I had shocker last year can’t remember where finished but I came 264th in 2015 and am usually up there – that said competition is good these days

    • Avatar


      February 9, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      I’m up for the challenge.

    • Avatar


      February 9, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      Im in mate, hopefully i can repeat my form from last year and finish in the top 500.

  9. Avatar


    February 9, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Locked, was hoping for no articles on him. $100k cheaper than danger and rocky.

    • Avatar


      February 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      They are also in their prime and averaged 20 more points last season

    • Avatar


      February 9, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      If he does better than either of those 2 he also wins the Brownlow. You should spend the savings on a sneaky punt…

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