Little Gaz puts pedal to medal

GARY Ablett will draw level with his old man for games played when he steps out for No.248 this Saturday.

But Ablett Jnr may have already drawn level or, 'God' forbid, even gone past Ablett Snr as a footballer.

They are different players.

Dad was predominantly a half-forward who could have bursts in the midfield before ending his career as a full-forward. Son started as a small forward before fulfilling his potential and becoming the game's most damaging on-baller.

But Ablett Jnr's ability to perform at such a high level week after week is simply unmatched.

As good as he was with Geelong from 2007 to 2010, when he won one Brownlow Medal (2009) but should have been awarded three, Ablett Jnr's performance graph has been on an incline since moving to the Gold Coast.

'The Little Master' notched his 17th 40-plus disposal game in another stunning performance against Collingwood at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.

Remarkably it was the 10th time he has notched more than 40 disposals for a game in just 55 appearances with the Suns.

Ablett dominated in the seven-point win over the Magpies despite lining up against one of the best midfields in the competition.

Dayne Beams (34 touches), Scott Pendlebury (28) and Dane Swan (32) starred for the visitors but were all left in Ablett's wake.

He seems to love playing the Magpies. His best possession haul - an equal league record 53 - came against them last season.

Certainly the umpires have rated Ablett Jnr superior to Ablett Snr, though the latter played at a time when even a 10-goal return didn't guarantee a Brownlow vote, as was the case when he notched double figures in a game in 1993.

Ablett Snr kicked 124 goals that year at an average of 7.2 a game, yet could only manage 13 votes from the men in white.

In total, Ablett Snr polled 100 throughout his career. Ablett Jnr was up to 159 by the end of 2012.

While he was pipped at the post when still a Cat in '08 by Adam Cooney (24 votes to 22), and in '10 by Chris Judd (30 to 26), Ablett will surely claim a second Brownlow, and first as a Sun, this year.

He collected 23 votes and 24 votes, respectively, when Gold Coast won just three games in 2011 and 2012.

Last year he picked up maximum votes in six losing causes.

He has every chance to get the three votes in all of the Suns' six wins so far this season alone.

While he hasn't quite had the huge numbers of 2012 when he topped the 40-disposal mark seven times - Saturday night was the first time he has been above 40 in 2013 - his regular 30-plus games have arguably been more damaging with less coming in the back half of the ground. He is averaging a career-high six inside-50s this year.

Two weeks ago Champion Data had Ablett down for 28 votes by round 15, 10 clear of the Collingwood's Scott Pendlebury.

While the debate over which Ablett is the better may continue, Junior already has two more premierships than Senior and should have two more Brownlows come September.



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