AFL world pays tribute after Gary Ablett’s career ends with courageous grand final | 7NEWS.com.au

AFL world pays tribute after Gary Ablett’s career ends with courageous grand final | 7NEWS.com.au

Geelong superstar Gary Ablett’s courage wasn’t enough to inspire a fairytale finish to his storied AFL career in Saturday’s grand final.

The retiring champion’s 357th and final match looked over inside five minutes of the historic clash at the Gabba.

Watch the final tributes to Ablett in the video above

Ablett hurt his left shoulder in a tackle from Richmond’s Trent Cotchin and had to be assisted from the field in obvious pain.

While most feared the dual Brownlow Medallist was done for the night, he reappeared on the bench on the 19-minute mark with his shoulder heavily strapped.

Despite clearly being affected by the injury, Ablett played on ending with 12 disposals, two clearances and three score involvements.

As inspirational as the 36-year-old’s efforts were, it couldn’t deny the Tigers a third premiership in four years as Richmond ran over the Cats in the second half to claim a 12.9 (81) to 7.8 (50) victory.

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“There’s a little bald bloke over there, we just want to say we love you and we thank you for what you’ve done for the game,” Geelong captain Joel Selwood said.

Presented with his third Norm Smith Medal, Dustin Martin paid tribute to Ablett before celebrating the Tigers’ achievement.

“First of all, I would just like to thank Geelong for an awesome game. You’re an awesome club,” he said.

“Well done to Gaz on your unbelievable career.”

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Ablett’s was one of several injuries in an at-times brutal match.

Moments before his injury, Richmond defender Nick Vlastuin was knocked out by an accidental high elbow from Patrick Dangerfield.

The Cats star punched a contested ball and made high contact with Vlastuin in the same action.

Vlastuin lay motionless for several minutes before being taken off the ground on a stretcher.

Cats midfielder Sam Simpson was also stretchered off late in the final term after being knocked out in a pack mark contest.

Simpson’s head collided with teammate Sam Menegola and also collided heavily with the Gabba turf.

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