CATS SET TO PUNT
By Mark Heenan GEELONG will almost certainly take the punt on injured star Gary Ablett for Sunday's crucial Telstra Dome clash against St Kilda. Ablett injured the AC joint in his shoulder in the Cats' round 17 loss to the Kangaroos in Canberra 10 days ago.
But with the Cats' finals hopes still alive provided they can win their last four games, Geelong is considering taking the risk on its match-winner to play the Saints. Geelong coach Mark Thompson said he had been impressed with Ablett's progress, despite an early diagnosis predicting he would be sidelined for either two or three games.
Ablett, 22, is believed to have trained indoors at
Skilled Stadium today. "He has improved again the last couple of
days," Thompson said at Geelong training today.
Undisciplined big man Cameron Mooney will return after a one-game suspension, while gutsy defender Jarad Rooke is likely to play after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Although suspended onballer Jimmy Bartel won't play the Saints, Thompson was pleased the club took the risk on having his two-game rough conduct suspension, on the Brisbane Lions' Troy Selwood, halved from two matches to one. "Every time you go to the tribunal after you challenge the match review panels interpretation, you take a risk," Thompson said. "We risked (the tribunal increasing the ban to) three weeks and got it down to one, so it's a good win for the club."
Geelong also hinted at playing a three-pronged tall forward line against an undermanned St Kilda outfit, which lost tall defender Matt Maguire to a broken leg last Friday night.
At one stage against the Lions the Cats played ruckmen Brad Ottens and Steven King inside the 50-metre arc, along with the 198cm Henry Playfair.
"With Maguire out, it's an option we certainly have," Thompson said. "Cam (Mooney) has had a pretty good year at centre-half forward and I was thrilled for Henry Playfair the way he played last week.
"We've been waiting for that all year and he really did lead up to the ball, mark the ball with confidence and play like a person we know he is capable of. Brad has been pretty good for us at full-forward. And there is no doubt that will happen again this week."
Geelong has won three of its past four matches against St Kilda, the most recent being the 18 point win at the Telstra Dome in Round 7.
AFL ROUND 19 - GEELONG V ST KILDA
ABLETT INJURED HIS RIGHT SHOULDER IN THE LOSS TO THE KANGAROOS IN CANBERRA IN ROUND 17
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