Wizard Ablett up to his old tricks as AFL kicks off centenary season

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 April, 1996, 12:00am

Australian football's premium individual commodity, Geelong full-forward Gary Ablett, demonstrated that a drawn-out Victorian summer had drained none of his ability by bagging nine goals in his side's 127-point demolition of Melbourne. The Cats' 35-year-old superstar eschewed his trademark high-flying efforts for a copybook duck and weave, snap-shooting mission to be best afield in Geelong's 27.21 (183) to 8.8 (56) trouncing of the Demons.

Ablett gave the AFL's centenary season a memorable start with three roof-lifting goals early in the second term, the third coming from a left-foot snap tight up against the boundary line.

Champagne and flat beer are likely to be regularly alternating options for Asian bar-flys who follow the unpredictable fortunes of St Kilda. Pop music guru and former Saints cheer-leader Ian 'Molly' Meldrum has opened a bar - Molly's Jump - in Bangkok. Described by Meldrum as a mix between a Hard Rock Cafe and a sports bar, the watering hole will feature a vast collection of sporting memorabilia. His newest souvenir is a giant Saints' shield signed by the Ansett Cup premiership team after their upset win over 1995 day premiers Carlton. Few elbow-benders at Molly's Jump would have been toasting the inconsistent Saints on Saturday night after they stepped out from the night premiership glow to be given a lesson in real football commitment by North Melbourne, 15.19 (109) to 12.13 (85). A crowd of 70,000 turned up at the MCG yesterday to watch champions Carlton take on a Collingwood side they only managed to beat by five points in the pre-season competition.

But the Magpies could not rise to the occasion against the classy Blues, going down 16.13 (109) to 12.15 (87). West Coast continued their dominance over Western Australian rivals Fremantle with a comfortable 9.13 (67) to 6.9 (45) win, but the game failed to reach any great heights in the warm conditions at Subiaco. Eagles veteran Chris Mainwaring, who finished with 26 possessions and six marks on the wing, described the match as a dour contest.

'It was pretty tough because they [the Dockers] never gave up, they're going to have a good year,' said Mainwaring.

'The skills weren't the best but it's only the first round and there's a long way to go.' Brisbane registered their first win over Footscray for seven years in emphatic style, winning 21.15 (141) to 7.12 (54) at the Gabba.