AFL Grand Final 2022: Geelong captain Joel Selwood’s secret plan for Gary Ablett’s son, run out together, retirement

Geelong Cats captain Joel Selwood has revealed he will lead his team onto the MCG for the AFL Grand Final with the son of club legend Gary Ablett Jr.

The three-year-old Levi has battled illness throughout his short life, having been diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease in 2020 leaving him unable to speak.

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The disease also leaves him vulnerable to aspirating, which is when food, drink or stomach contents can get into the lungs. This can cause lung damage and increases the risk of pneumonia.

In 2021, Jordan Ablett, the wife of Gary and mum to Levi, told The Significant Others podcast the disease comes with “a very short life expectancy which is why I constantly say to people when they ask about Levi that we are literally just taking it day by day because we have no idea what the future holds.”

In August, Levi had another set back when he was rushed to hospital with respiratory issues shortly after the family returned from holidays.

But, in a scene that is bound to leave misty eyes in the crowd, Selwood revealed he and Levi would lead the Cats onto the field in the Grand Final.

Speaking with SEN WA Breakfast with Gilly & Goss, host Tim Gossage asked if he had spoken with Ablett, as the pair were best mates through Geelong.

“I’ll let you in on a little secret — his son’s going to run out with me tomorrow, which is pretty special,” Selwood said.

“I think it’s only fair that an Ablett is performing on Grand Final day and it’s Gazza’s turn to cheer on his little son.

“That will be pretty special for the Ablett family but also the Geelong faithful.”

Tim Gossage said “That is beautiful”, while Gilchrist added: “That is wonderful.”

It will be a special moment in front of 90,000 people.

But it also may not be the only special moment.

Geelong head into the decider as the red hot favourites, riding a 15-game winning streak into the match.

The last Cats skipper to lift the Premiership Cup was Cameron Ling in 2011 and he will award the trophy if Geelong claim the win.

Ling retired after that win, and Ling said he wouldn’t be surprised if the 34-year-old Selwood walked away with a premiership win.

“I don’t know inside Joel’s head if he’s got that same thoughts,” Ling told 7 News. “It can’t hurt though, to finish on that special note. Hopefully he’s got that option.”