LEEDS RHINOS DEBUT: v London Broncos 18.07.04
Carl is one of only two players at the club to have won seven Super League titles and the 2019 season will start his sixteenth with the club An athletic and skilful player, Carl can play in a number of positions, and this versatility has proved invaluable for the Rhinos in recent years, playing at loose forward, centre and in the second row.
He celebrated his testimonial season in 2016 and is one of the most successful players in the club’s history, winning seven Grand Finals and two Challenge Cups The Leeds born player joined the Academy in 2001 from Hunslet Parkside, having also previously played with Middleton.
Two years later he was part of the Rhinos Academy Grand Final winning squad and 2004 broke through to the senior side, making a substitute appearance in the 36 all draw with London Broncos at the age of 19, becoming the 100th player to represent Leeds in the Super League era.
He had played a key role in the Senior Academy side for a number of years and in 2005 he helped the team to victory in the First Division Grand Final, scoring seven tries in his 15 appearances throughout the campaign. He ended the year gaining useful experience, when he spent a month on loan with London Broncos.
The following season Carl was named in the 2006 squad just outside the top 20 and he did not have long to wait to get first team action, making his home debut off the bench in the Rhinos 66-14 win over Castleford. An injury during the season limited Carl’s appearances, but in the six games he put in some solid performances.
During the 2008 season he was pressed into emergency cover at centre following season long injuries to Clinton Toopi and Ashley Gibson. Ablett not only filled the gap but excelled in the position as he was cleverly rotated by coach Brian McClennan with Gareth Ellis, to remain fresh and effective. He made 30 appearances in total, including his 50th appearance for the club in the Grand Final. He also became a father for the first time to daughter Ruby.
In 2009 he was able to move back to his preferred position in the second row and he became a mainstay of the team, missing just one game all season and only two of his appearances came as replacement. He started the Grand Final in 2009 and collected his third Championship in his 81st appearance. After celebrating the start of the new year with a four year contract, there was frustration for the second rower during the 2010 season, with two injuries ruling him out of action for part of the campaign.
He returned though to help the side in their push to the Carnegie Challenge Cup Final. In total he made 21 appearances and scored 3 tries over the campaign. An outstanding 2011 season saw Carl score tries in the Challenge Cup and Grand Finals. He once again proved his versatility playing at centre and his form saw him called into the England squad for the first time for the Four Nations in 2011, but missed out on final selection.
The 2012 was another exceptional year for Carl Ablett, who scored a try in the World Club Challenge and Grand Final to help the club to two more titles. He made his England debut against the Exiles and ended the season as part of the England Autumn international squad. Once more he proved his versatility playing in the second row before switching to centre mid-way through the season and put in an outstanding performance against Warrington.
He was part of the Challenge Cup Final winning squad in 2014 and was named runner up in the Player of the Year awards and included in the Super League Dream team for the first time. The following year he was the only player to play in every game in the treble winning season. He won his seventh Grand Final in 2017 against Castleford Tigers and played against Melbourne in the World Club Challenge at AAMI Park.
On the international scene Carl won representative honours with the England Academy at U17 and U18 level and was part of the side who won the Australian Test match. He made his England debut against the Exiles in 2012 and ended the season as part of the England Autumn international squad. In 2013 played for England in the World Cup and was surprise exclusion from the 2014 Four Nations squad.
His childhood heroes were Adrian Morley and Ellery Hanley. He credits his academy coaches Stuart Wilkinson and Mick Cook as being the greatest influence on his game.