AFL fans have hailed Richmond as “pure class” after seeing a hidden detail in an iconic farewell photo of Gary Ablett Jr’s Honor Guard.
The legend of Geelong Cats had tears in their eyes as he was slapped out of the gabba after his team’s defeat on Saturday – closing the door on his AFL career in 357 games.
The Richmond players gained widespread recognition after Captain Trent Cotchin reached out to the Cats on behalf of his team on behalf of his team to ask how they could help the Tigers say goodbye to the retired superstar.
Together, the teams formed an honor guard and cheered lively when the 36-year-old Ablett left the field for the last time.
But eagle-eyed football fans have drawn attention to another respectful sportiness.
Each Tiger player in line removed their Premiership medals from around their necks to cancel their win when they saw the AFL off the field.
The Richmond Tigers and Geelong Cats formed an honor guard to see Gary Ablett Jnr (pictured) off the field for his final AFL match at the Gabba on Saturday night
The discreet detail was first spotted by fans of the social media group The Mongrel Punt, who posted a close-up of the tigers at the station online.
,Enlarge. Did you notice anything? Not a single Richmond player wears his Premiership medallion, ”they wrote.
“Even at a moment when it’s all about them, they put it aside and paid tribute to give Ablett the moment he deserved. That is absolute class. ‚
Other fans agreed and flocked online to applaud Richmond’s sportiness.
‘That’s culture and that’s class. To stop celebrating and giving this man the respect he deserves speaks volumes. And not showing your medals. Well done management team, ”wrote one fan.
“Thank you the Tigers for all the respect you showed Gary Ablett Jr. by saying goodbye on Saturday night … To be able to do this in a time of cheer is all great,” added another.
“You showed a side of your club that eyed more than one grown man. Thank you very much.’
Footy fan social media group The Mongrel Punt spotted the discreet detail for the first time on the iconic photo of the honor guard
Ablett sustained a shoulder injury in the early moments of Saturday’s AFL Grand Final
Ablett sustained a shoulder injury shortly after first impacting Saturday’s Grand Final against the Richmond Tigers.
But the AFL star showed perseverance by returning to the field after recording his injury.
In another token of respect, Tiger’s players noticeably avoided hitting Ablett’s shoulder once he returned to the field.
Geelong captain Joel Selwood paid tribute to Ablett’s career in his post-game speech.
“We love you and we thank you for what you did for the game,” said Selwood.
Before he left the league, Ablett greeted his wife Jordan and son Levi on the sidelines.
The 36-year-old had tears in his eyes as he said goodbye to the crowd on Saturday, closing the door on his AFL career in 357 games
Levi was diagnosed with degenerative disease this year, just months before Ablett’s mother-in-law Trudy Papalia lost her battle with lung cancer in August.
Despite losing in the Grand Final, Ablett beamed as he spoke to his son before kissing the toddler on the cheek.
As one of four children, Ablett has always been destined to follow in the footsteps of his father, Garry ‘God’ Ablett, who has since described his son as the greatest midfielder to ever play the game.
Ablett wowed fans with his freaky field skills when he made his AFL debut as an 18-year-old with a baby face in 2002.
He won two premierships with Cats in 2007 and 2009 before heading north to make a fresh start with the Gold Coast Suns when they joined the AFL in 2011.
He spent eight seasons with the Suns before returning home in late 2017 after the tragic loss of his sister Natasha.
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