KINGSLEY BACK IN BOMBER GOOD BOOKS;
LING CLEARED FOR CLASH WITH LIONS
By Mark Heenan KENT KINGSLEY, out of favour Geelong forward, appears likely to earn a recall for Sunday's cutthroat clash against the Brisbane Lions at the GABBA. Geelong coach Mark 'Bomber' Thompson hinted at the prospect of throwing Kent Kingsley a lifeline, who kicked six goals in the VFL last weekend against the Bendigo Bombers [MATCH REPORT], as the beleaguered Cats attempt to keep their slim finals chances alive.
Kingsley, a four-time leading club goalkicker with the Cats, has fallen out of favour with the selectors this season having only registered eight matches. The 27-year-old, who last played in round 13, remains out of contract with Geelong at season's end.
"Yeah he (Kingsley) is some sort of chance, obviously kicking six goals in the reserves, he would be a chance," said Thompson, at Skilled Stadium on Wednesday.
The embattled coach hasn't given up hope of making this year's finals, despite the club sitting precariously in ninth spot and two games of the final eight. "If we do win a game of footy and other teams don't win, it means we're in the hunt to make finals and that's what our aim is," he said.
"Last weekend we had a poor week... we admit that. What do we do about it? Do we actually get brittle and break down and just lose ourselves or just say no let's go back at this because (we're) still alive."
Thompson indicated a whole host of changes could be made after its devastating 30-point loss to the Kangaroos in Canberra on Sunday, with out-of-sorts forward Henry Playfair and on-ballers Shannon Byrnes, Kane Tenace and Brent Prismall all pushing for a recall.
"Playfair would be a chance to come back in," he said. "There are some (players) that deserve a game, Tenace, Prismall, and Shannon Byrnes have been playing some terrific footy in the reserves, so some of them will get a chance no doubt."
Meanwhile, midfielder Cameron Ling has been cleared to play after hitting his head on the Manuka Oval centre wicket area in Sunday's loss to the Kangaroos. The Brisbane Lions have beaten Geelong in their last six attempts at the GABBA by an average winning margin of more than 50 points, and Thompson believes the Cats are primed to break a 13-year hoodoo at the ground.
The Cats last won in Brisbane in round five of 1993 by one point, against the then Brisbane Bears. "It is a long time," Thompson said. "I know the Cats have never beaten the Lions in their history (at the GABBA), so that's something we can really set ourselves up for, and have a goal to beat the Lions."
Gary Ablett Junior is expected to miss as little as one and as many as three games, following his clash with Kangaroo Jess Sinclair early in Sunday's shocker in Canberra. Gary Ablett sustained a heavy blow to his right shoulder and immediately left the field. He took no further part in the match.
After undergoing an X Ray Monday morning, Ablett has been cleared him of any serious damage but will miss between one and three matches due to an injured AC joint. The club referred to Ablett's injury as a ' grade one injury'. AFL umpire Darren Goldspink was reportedly tightlipped immediately after the incident.
AFL PLAYERS CLEAN UP (FINANCIALLY); WIN 25 PER CENT WAGE INCREASE FULL STORY
IN OTHER football news, Collingwood's Blake Caracella, premiership player with Essendon and Brisbane in 2000 and 2003, has announced his retirement, effective immediately. Recovering from a fractured vertebra and bruised spinal cord suffered in a collision with former teammate Tim Notting in round ten, he has since been found to have a preexisting condition. Had he continued he could have been paralysed if he suffered another blow.
This news was overshadowed by the news Collingwood players Chris Tarrant and Ben Johnson were involved in a vicious brawl outside a Port Melbourne nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning. The pair stand accused of being involved in a one-sided fight in which a defenseless man was kicked whilst on the ground. It is claimed that when a bystander intervened he, too, was bashed unconscious.
Two years ago Tarrant was involved in a fist fight with Essendon's Mark Johnson at Russell Street nightclub 'Billboard' in 2004, following a 34 point loss to the Bombers the previous night. Despite this latest indiscretion, the club ruled out suspending the maligned forward.
In January teammate Dane Swan was convicted of affray, receiving a one hundred hour sentence of community work plus $3,000 fine, following a brawl in Federation Square in December 2003 that also involved forward coach Wayne Carey's nephew Kade Carey.
With Ben Jensen
AFL PLAYERS CLEAN UP (FINANCIALLY); WIN 25 PER CENT
KENT KINGSLEY AT THE 2002 BROWNLOW MEDAL
GARY ABLETT AFTER THE COLLISION WITH JESS SINCLAIR