PLAYFAIR OUT FOR UP TO A MONTH
By Mark Heenan GEELONG KEY FORWARD HENRY PLAYFAIR faces up to a month on the sidelines after MRI scans revealed cartilage damage to his left shoulder. The 23-year-old injured his shoulder while laying a tackle during the Cats 77-point demolition over the Brisbane Lions at Skilled Stadium last Saturday in round one of the 2006 AFL Premiership Season.
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Geelong coach Mark Thompson says while Playfair won't require surgery, scans on Monday confirmed his left arm would be in a sling for the next two weeks.
Playfair, who has played 44 AFL games, has been a potent forward alternative option with Brad Ottens pre-season hampered by osteitis pubis and Kent Kingsley struck down with a hamstring injury. The 198cm forward kicked two vital goals for Geelong last weekend.
"It was a bit of a surprise to us to be honest," Thompson said at Skilled Stadium on Wednesday. We saw him (Henry) hurt himself on the weekend, he went to a specialist had a scan on Monday, (and he will be out) for a couple of weeks, maybe three or four.
He has had a sore shoulder, but its not anything that needs an operation It just needs two weeks in a sling basically. Then he will start playing pretty much straight away.
Meanwhile, Geelong will welcome back Kent Kingsley for Saturdays clash against the Kangaroos at Skilled Stadium. Kingsley severely tore his hamstring during Geelongs NAB Cup Quarter-final victory over the Kangaroos in Cairns last month.
He will play (in the) AFL, Thompson said. Look he has had five weeks (on the sidelines) now with a grade-one hamstring, so we've taken a pretty conservative rehab program with him.
Other players in line for a recall include Nathan Ablett and gun forward Steve Johnson, while David Wojcinski returns via the VFL after recovering from a knee reconstruction.
Thompson is prepared to play the waiting game with Wojcinski after he suffered a sickening knee injury in last years corresponding match at Subiaco against West Coast. "We are going to leave (Wojcinski) for another week at least, maybe two weeks - just let the pace go off the competition and let him get comfortable playing before we play him in the AFL," Thompson said.
In other news, Thompson confessed Geelong had received a number of proposals to play games interstate after he took over as coach in 2000 when the club was in off-field financial trouble. He says it is disappointing many Melbourne-based AFL clubs like the Kangaroos are faced with the prospect of shifting matches interstate in order to survive.
I think we had a lot of proposals come to the club, Im sure we did, I can remember reading a couple we were never keen on doing it unless we got really desperate, Thompson said. I suppose thats where some of the Melbourne clubs are a little bit desperate to survive and raise money.
The Kangaroos have beaten Geelong in three of their last five encounters at Skilled Stadium by an average margin of 35 points.