IT'S BEEN eating away at me for the past two weeks and I feel compelled to tell of an experience I had on the field.
The funny thing was, it was nothing I did or anything a teammate accomplished.
It didn't come from Brad Scott or any of the other coaches either.
It had everything to do with the amazing feats of an opposition player.
In football these days, you don't hear rivals complement each other too much.
There's the occasional comment about an outstanding performance like in round two when Brent Harvey drew praise from Scott Pendlebury and others on Twitter, but they're few and far between.
There are some people who will be shocked that I am about to pump up the tyres of a sworn enemy, but I honestly feel that we should celebrate players from all clubs if they're good enough to warrant it.
This particular player, who has earned my attention, is a household name and has plied his trade with and without the protection of other superstars around him.
Gary Ablett is a phenomenon.
With Geelong, the critics argued his game was made easier because he was somewhat protected due to the amount of other capable players around him like James Bartel, Cameron Ling, Joel Selwood and Paul Chapman.
But on the Gold Coast, and no disrespect to the guys playing there, he often has to go it alone.
Despite this, Ablett is still able to produce mind blowing numbers, like the 42-possession, four-goal effort against us in round 12.
Without the protection of other 'stars', taggers are instructed 'not to leave Gary's side' at any stage. He still shines.
We can caught up in statistics and media dribble about who the best current-day player is.
Your friends might spend hours discussing who the number one is and still be at odds.
Today, here and now, I will end the discussion by telling you that Gary is the man by a long way and I've seen plenty of good ones this year, including Lance Franklin's 13 goals from 17 shots a month ago.
Ablett wills himself to get the ball no matter who or what's in the way. You can throw a tagger at him but by quarter-time, the coach will be shaking his head in disbelief, looking for another man to do the job. No matter what tactics teams employ, Ablett still gets the ball and does damage.
Levi Greenwood tagged Ablett for us and I sat down with him to find out just how hard the task was.
He told me it was Ablett's pure strength that stood out most.
"He navigates through traffic so well. Even if you manage to get your hands on him, his lower body strength and legs enable him to just power through tackles," Levi said.
"At one point Scott Thompson tried to tackle him and Gary just shrugged him off and was left with only a ripped jumper. It was a pretty tough day at the office when I was on him."
Levi is as good a tagger as any in the competition and has shut down superstars including Carlton's Chris Judd and St Kilda's Nick Dal Santo. But on this day, he admits he lowered his colours.
In my opinion, that's nothing to be ashamed of because Ablett is going through a purple patch and we could have helped Levi out much more on the night.
It's up to us as a team to stop individuals from dominating, not just one player.
"He gets into good spots to receive the ball and even if he's not in a good spot, he's quick enough to get across when he's in congestion. His lateral movement is quicker than most other blokes that I've played on," Levi told me.
"When you don't think he's going to get the ball, he'll get it. His team mates will give him the ball wherever he is. He'll give and receive several times in a row and get heaps of touches that way and it undoes your aim to shut him down and makes it really tough."
Making it even more difficult was the fact that Levi was moved onto Ablett after he'd already ripped apart the first quarter.
"Once a good player gets his tail up with a good first quarter under their belt, it's so hard to stop them. They're on fire.
"It's a good learning curve because you can't give them a metre or they'll get it. Around the stoppages, Karmichael Hunt was coming towards me to block me a fair bit as well."
So given Levi's testimony and my account as a witness, you can stop the searching for the AFL's greatest because I have found him for you.
This is not up for discussion. I saw him in action in 2009, 2010, 2011 and now.
He's a freak. Case closed.