SCARLETT AND HARLEY IN MIX TO TAKE ON BUSTLING BARRY;
CATS READY FOR SWANS
MARK Thompson believes his two key defenders are capable of matching the form of Sydney spearhead Barry Hall, ahead of Geelongs sellout clash with the Sydney Swans this Sunday at Skilled Stadium.
Matthew Scarlett was cleared at Tuesday night's tribunal, after being reported on video for misconduct in that he 'unreasonably initiated contact to the arse of player and serial diver Alan Didak'. Scarlett was cleared, in part due to evidence given by the field umpire in action of the day, Matthew James, who said that he wouldn't have made the report, as "there is contact but I don't think it's sufficient enough to make a report.".
Speaking at Geelong training today, the Geelong coach was relieved. Its always a risk, especially lately, with all the controversy surrounding the tribunal, for Matthew to be cleared to play is a fantastic result, Thompson said.
While its a tantalising match up, Barry Hall versus Matthew Scarlett, Thompson has not ruled out the possibility of Tom Harley starting on Sydneys gun forward. It does make for a great match up, he said. He (Harley) could play on him (Hall) quite easily, we have got as much confidence in Tom, playing on good forwards as we have Matthew (Scarlett).
After kicking 4 goals against Adelaide last weekend in the heavy conditions at the SCG, and moving his season goal tally on to 52 goals, Thompson admits Hall will be hard to stop. Id imagine he would be very hard to play against, because hes such a physical player too, he likes to get involve in all parts of the play.
David Spriggs and David Johnson could be inclusions for the Cats, following the loss of James Kelly (broken leg) and Brent Moloney, who will miss the next six weeks after rupturing a finger tendon in last Fridays nights 29-point victory against Collingwood.
An unblemished record at Skilled Stadium this season will surely hold the Cats in good stead, having won 4 of those games by an average winning margin of nearly 4 goals.
Geelong have won four out of their past six encounters against the Swans. Very credible for the Cats, given five of those six games were played at the SCG. The last time Sydney traveled to Skilled Stadium was Round 22, 2000. We havent been beaten here this year. Weve been playing reasonable footy at the ground, and if some of their (Sydney) boys have not been at the ground, it is always difficult playing somewhere for the first time Thompson said.
At least one of David Johnson, David Spriggs, Paul Koulouriotis and Shannon Byrnes will come into the side to replace the injured Brent Moloney. Byrnes was elevated from the Rookie list on Wednesday while Koulouriotis was picked up from Port Adelaide. Both are yet to play an AFL game. Twenty year old Shannon Byrnes was promoted from the rookie list on Wednesday to replace the injured Kelly. 'Koula' has impressed in the VFL in recent weeks; both he and Tim Callan are proof that, on the balance of consistent VFL form, you can break into the AFL side.
Captain Steven King comes off his best game yet this season. Against the Pies King was superb. Despite spending over a quarter on the interchange, King managed 12 possessions, 2 goals, 37 hitouts and countless blocks, taps and second efforts.
'Little Buddha' Brent Moloney will miss six weeks after having a damaged tendon in his finger operated upon. Corey Enright is a chance to return after missing three weeks with a shoulder injury, while Paul Chambers may find himself replaced with Henry Playfair or David Haynes. Andrew Mackie may also be rotated out of the attack.
Tickets are just about sold out, so get in now. And save your money for finals tickets as well as reserved seats in 2005 - one of the best Christmas presents money can buy.
CERTAIN ALL AUSTRALIAN FULL BACK, MATTHEW SCARLETT
SCARLETT AND TOM HARLEY BEFORE THEIR 100TH GAME IN ROUND 9
HARLEY WAS IN GEELONG'S BEST IN THIS WIN OVER THE ROOS