B Jensen February 14 2004

GEELONG SKIPPER Steven King has been ruled out for at least the next few weeks, with a recurrence of his achilles injury. Investigations are still continuing, which may see the two time best and fairest winner out for up to 16 weeks. The Cats' season's achilles heel may well prove to be King's; last season Geelong struggled all season with a barely fit King playing most of the first 14 rounds, before sitting out the remainder of the season.

Geelong tried to manage King's injury last season by a controlled training regime. They then decided against surgery, preferring King to have an extensive layoff, to be ready for 2004, once it became clear Geelong's 2003 season was over.

Assuming King doesn't get back to full fitness until Round 14 or so, a combination of David Loats, traded from Hawthorn, the developing Paul Chambers and rookie Jeff Smith will have to shoulder the burden. Draftee Mark Blake is not expected to play any games in 2004.

During the past decade and a half, the 'Captain's Curse' has struck down many Geelong captains with injury; the most serious being Damien Bourke, Andrew Bews, (both incidentally back at the club), Barry Stoneham and Leigh Colbert.

MEANWHILE, Geelong kicks off their 2004 season against perennial finals disappointment, Port Adelaide, at the Bundaberg Rum Stadium in Cairns next Saturday night, February 21.

The winner of Geelong and Port will play the winner between Sydney and Carlton, who play at Sydney's Telstra Stadium on the Sunday. Read the Match Preview for more details