Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton has explained his criticism of Geelong’s Gary Ablett, saying the veteran Cat instinctively avoids contact to his shoulders.
Brereton called out Ablett after Geelong’s loss to Richmond last Friday, saying he ran away from contact when kicking for goal in the dying stages of the game.
The five-time premiership player has expanded on his comments, describing why he thinks Ablett has changed his game style.
“I feel for Gary Ablett and I’m a great admirer of his,” Brereton told SEN’s KB and The Doc.
“I feel for him. He has been banged around for so many years. We have all seen the footage, in the highlight reels of him, where he has been in agony with his shoulders.
“I think that Gary instinctively runs away from contact if it is going to sit him down on his backside and he will end up falling on his shoulder.
“That’s an instinct and that’s why I reckon he runs away from it.
“It doesn’t give him the best chance of kicking a goal in the action as such last Friday.”
Brereton says his line of thinking comes from his playing days with the Hawks.
“I would say this to my Hawthorn teammates...I would never get into my teammates further afield for anything except, I mean the obvious things stand out," he said.
"If I was playing in front leading up to them, the amount of times I’ve been punched in the back of the head as a forward in that era, too many to count.
“If a player, a midfielder, was coming forward at me and he had a straight run to deliver a straight pass at me on the run charging straight at me, I expected him to do that.
“If the half second after he got that kick away he got sat on his butt, that’s what I would thank him for. I expected him to do it and I knew he would expect me to keep my head up and if I got punched in the back of the head, so be it.
“If he was running at me and a player was encroaching to that kicker, and he ran sideways away and did a screw kick around the corner, you’re a 50/50 chance to mark that as a leading forward, and I thought, you should take the hit because every time I’m on the lead, I’m taking a hit in the back of the head.”
Listen to Dermott Brereton’s chat with Kevin Bartlett and Dr Turf on SEN’s KB and The Doc in the player below