INJURIES THE KEY TO SEPTEMBER TILT
Sunday's nail-biter against an in-form Adelaide demonstrated precisely what Geelong needs to make an all-out assault at the Premiership this season - their best 22 - or as close to as possible one the park at one time.
What showed in the heroic win was the importance of stability and consistency and how vital they are to the club's fortunes. The mere presence of Brenton Sanderson back in the line up with his poise, decision making and experience helped enrich a back six that has been savagely beaten by the injury stick this year.
With Tom Harley again ruled out with hamstring tendonitis, David Wojcinski gone for the season and David Johnson cruelled by a hamstring, Sanderson stepped back into the fold and reminded us immediately why the 198 game veteran is so important to the side's makeup and more specifically, the defensive makeup.
Did Matthew Scarlett and Cameron Mooney lift because of the General Sanderson stirring performance in his season debut? Who knows, but both raised the bar to another level in what had been a patchy year to date. Did the article in The Sunday Age about Scarlett's questionable season and the high standard he has set himself get his back up? Who knows, but 30 touches from fullback including 14 marks on a blustery day suggests he's awoken and is hell-bent on retribution. Throw Harley back into the mix with Sanderson, Mooney, Josh Hunt and Darren Milburn and suddenly quite possibly the best defence in the league is right back on track.
Putting Joel Corey, a tireless worker, back into the midfield rotation also paid dividends. His return, with 20 disposals, on the back of Ling's 37 touches and solid games from Jimmy Bartel and James Kelly gave Geelong more drive than it had had in previous weeks.
But with the goods comes the bads. A broken jaw to Henry Playfair, who was integral in the third quarter resurgence and a knee injury to Corey Enright, who had been in stellar form, demonstrates the terrible misfortune the club has had with injuries this year. It seems every time we get a couple of players back we lose a couple. It's been that way all season.
Whilst there is still plenty of football to be played this year, much of our fortune lies in the hands of the Injury Gods. Steven King is touch and go for the Gabba game on Sunday against the Lions and Harley will be on a restricted training program for the remainder of the season. With Wojcinski, Enright and David Johnson sidelined Matthew Egan could find himself a mainstay in defence for the bulk of the season. He has shown enough to suggest he could fill the void. At the other end of the ground Matthew McCarthy could be recalled in the absence of Playfair in an effort to provide a marking option at centre half forward. He kicked seven in a half in the reserves a fortnight ago, so if ever there was a time to give him another chance, then now is it. Hopefully, come September, we'll have as close to a full list to choose from as possible which will make us a dangerous side and will certainly give us a good chance of pushing deep into the finals. With a healthy squad who knows how far.
COREY ENRIGHT - WILL MISS AT LEAST A MONTH DUE TO A KNEE INJURY
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HENRY PLAYFAIR (RIGHT) WILL BE MISSED