Ablett punch ‘a clear-cut case of a lack of discipline’

However, Scott made it clear that he would have preferred Ablett to be available to play even though he has made no secret the 35-year-old, who has been in superb form playing as a forward, would be rested at some stage this season.

Scott said his default position was to defend his players, and he felt he was enititled to defend Ablett for the two incidents in round seven and eight when Ablett’s forearm struck opponents high as he tried to block them after a handball.

Patrick Dangerfield at Cats training on Wednesday.Credit:AAP

However, on this occasion the coach was equally clear in his reaction after the Suns’ game.

“As soon as you clench your fist and make contact with someone they are going to pay a free kick and we have to stop complaining about that,” Scott said.

“We didn’t have a leg to stand on this week.”

Scott said Ablett could not explain why he acted in such uncharacteristic fashion in his 330th game, but he had complete confidence the dual Brownlow medallist knew it wasn’t the right thing to do and the risk was low that it would happen again.

The Cats are also contemplating whether key forward Esava Ratugolea should return after being freshened up for the past two weeks following his return from a broken leg suffered last season.

Scott has been clear that he is keen to select Ratugolea, however Darcy Fort has performed well in his first two games as a replacement for the promising ruck/forward.

“Darcy is making it hard for me,” Scott said.

“We love what Darcy is doing and he has got a lot of AFL football in front of him.

“As is the case with a few of our VFL guys, who have been putting together good performances for a couple of weeks in a row, we think Esava is in the position now where he is ready to come back in and play close to his best.”

Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.

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