Hidden detail in iconic AFL Grand Final photo showing Gary Ablett Jr being farewelled after crushing loss reveals why Dustin Martin and his Richmond teammates were pure class
- Gary Ablett Jr, 36, was farewelled after a crushing loss at the Gabba on Saturday
- An iconic photo shows Richmond and Geelong stars creating a guard of honour
- Richmond players have garnered widespread praise for their part in the tribute
- Fans have found a hidden detail in the photo showing extent of sportmanship
- Tigers players removed their premiership medals while cheering Ablett off field
AFL fans have praised Richmond as ‘pure class’ after noticing a hidden detail in an iconic photo of Gary Ablett Jr’s farewell guard of honour.
The Geelong Cats legend was teary-eyed as he was clapped out of the Gabba after his team’s crushing loss on Saturday – closing the door on his 357-game AFL career.
Richmond players garnered widespread adulation after captain Trent Cotchin reached out to the Cats on his team’s behalf, amid their premiership celebrations, to ask how they could help the Tigers farewell the retiring superstar.
Together, the teams formed an honour guard and vivaciously cheered as Ablett, 36, walked off the field for the last time.
But eagle-eyed footy fans have drawn attention to another respect-worthy display of sportsmanship.
Every Tiger player in the line removed their premiership medals from around their necks in an apparent bid to set aside their victory as they saw the AFL great off the field.
The Richmond Tigers and Geelong cats formed a honour 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 from social media group The Mongrel Punt, who posted a close-up of the Tigers in the guard online.
‘Zoom in. Notice anything? Not one Richmond player is wearing their premiership medallion,’ they wrote.
‘Even in a moment that is all about them, they put it aside and paid respect to give Ablett the moment he deserved. That’s absolute class.’
Other fans agreed, flocking online to applaud Richmond’s sportsmanship.
‘This is culture and this is class. To stop celebrating and give this man the respect he deserves speaks volumes. And to not show your medals. Well done leadership team,’ one fan wrote.
‘Thank you to the Tigers for all the respect you payed Gary Ablett Jr on Saturday night with his send off… To be able to do that in a time of pure jubilation is all class,’ another added.
‘You showed a side of your club that made more than one grown mans eye leak. Thank you.’
Footy fans social media group The Mongrel Punt first spotted the discreet detail in the iconic honour guard photo
Ablett suffered an injury to his shoulder in the first moments of the AFL Grand Final on Saturday
Ablett suffered a shoulder injury moments after the first bounce in Saturday’s Grand Final clash with the Richmond Tigers.
But the AFL star showed perseverance by returning to the field after his injury was taped.
In another show of respect, Tigers players noticeably avoided targeting Ablett’s shoulder once he returned to the field.
Geelong captain Joel Selwood paid tribute to Ablett’s career in his post-match speech.
‘We love ya, and we thank you for what you’ve done for the game,’ Selwood said.
Before he was farewelled by the league, Ablett greeted his wife Jordan and son Levi on the side of the pitch.
The 36-year-old was teary-eyed as he waved goodbye to the crowd on Saturday – closing the door on his 357-game AFL career
Levi was diagnosed with a degenerative condition this year, just months before Ablett’s mother-in-law Trudy Papalia lost her battle to lung cancer in August.
Despite the Grand Final loss, Ablett beamed as he spoke to his son, before kissing the toddler’s cheek.
One of four children, Ablett was always 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 freakish on-field skills when he made his AFL debut as a baby-faced 18-year-old in 2002.
He won two premierships with Cats in 2007 and 2009 before he headed north for 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 following the tragic loss of his sister Natasha.