As Ryan Abbott’s AFL career came to a close, picking which club he was returning to at a local level was an easy decision.
Grovedale is home for Abbott and the 200cm ruckman, who played six games for Geelong and St Kilda across his four seasons at the top level, will once again pull on the yellow and black.
Abbott played all his junior football at the Tigers and returned to senior football at 21 where he caught the eye of AFL scouts in the Geelong Football League.
Abbott, 29, is looking forward to returning to his home club and being a positive role model for the young Tigers.
“I’m absolutely pumped to be able come back to the club,” Abbott said.
“The choice was really clear and the opportunity to give back to a club that had given me so much is a really easy choice for me … Grovedale has always been home to me.”
While he felt like he was playing some of his most well-rounded football throughout 2020, Abbott did not look to explore further AFL opportunities, believing it was time for him to pursue other passions in his life.
Abbott said he walks away from his time in the AFL system with great memories and formed some strong relationships, but said his four years at two clubs in the competitive AFL environment did take a toll on him mentally.
“While you’re in the AFL system it’s not something I was thinking about too much, (but) towards the end of my time at St Kilda … I (decided I) wasn’t going to look for more AFL opportunities, that’s when it became more of a reality.
“I spent four years on an the AFL list to play my six games of footy and those four years have been quite a grind, to be honest … it’s taken its toll, more so mentally. I really loved my time in the AFL system, I learnt a lot and had some great relationships, (but) I wasn’t going to look for more AFL opportunities.”
Abbott has been studying a commerce degree, majoring in finance, something he is excited to forge a career in.