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Australia's most decorated player drops out of International Rules series for personal reasons

Two-time Brownlow medalist Gary Ablett won’t play any part in the two-game series.

Image: AFL

AUSTRALIA WILL BE without star player Gary Ablett for the upcoming International Rules series against Ireland.

The AFL announced this morning that Ablett has withdrawn from Chris Scott’s squad for the two-match series due to personal reasons.

Ablett is considered one of the all-time AFL greats, having won All-Australian honours (the Australian version of the All-Stars) eight times, while he’s also a two-time Brownlow medalist (Footballer of the Year).

He made 302 appearances during his 15-year career with Geelong Cats and Gold Coast Suns, but was set to make his International Rules debut at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

Ablett was named in Scott’s provisional squad back in October, but days later his sister Natasha died suddenly. Shortly after her death, the 33-year-old negotiated a trade from Gold Coast back to his first club Geelong so he could be closer to his family.

Incidentally, the International Rules series would have been a first opportunity for Ablett to play under Scott, who’s also in charge of Ablett’s new club Geelong.

Club-mates Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood are also part of the star-studded Australian squad.

When pre-season begins at Geelong, Ablett will play alongside Irishmen Zach Tuohy – who’s part of the Irish squad for Sunday – and Dingle youngster Mark O’Connor.

An AFL spokesman said a replacement player would not be called, leaving Scott with 21 players to choose from for the two-game series.

For an in-depth look at how the Australian preparations are going, have a look at our piece here.

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