JIMMY BARTEL YET TO RE-SIGN FOR CATS
GEELONG coach Mark Thompson says the Cats are likely to step up its negotiations in the coming weeks to sign star midfielder Jimmy Bartel.
The twenty-one year old was best on ground in Geelongs seventy-nine point mauling of Port Adelaide last Saturday at Skilled Stadium, with thirty-two disposals and three goals.
Bartel remains out of contract at seasons end with Geelong.
We spoke about it at the start of the year and weve offered something (to Jimmy) and then all negotiations got cancelled and were hoping that they start up again soon, Thompson said.
Weve always really wanted to sign him.
However the Cats coach isnt overly concerned that Bartel has failed to put pen to paper, saying its more important to focus on retaining other key young players as well.
In recent weeks, forward Paul Chapman and midfielder Joel Corey have both agreed to new deals with Geelong.
No more desperate than we were to sign all the other boys, I think its not just about one player, its about the whole group, he said
Most of the other boys have agreed on terms and we try to give everyone reasonable pay to what they put out, and it will be no different with Jimmy.
Meantime, Thompson has emphatically denied reports that Brad Ottens will miss the rest of the season, as the ex-Tiger battles to recover from a groin strain.
Ottens, trained lightly on Wednesday, has not played since round twelve, and is no certainty to line up against the Western Bulldogs at the Telstra Dome on Saturday.
While defender Tom Harley, who continues to be plagued by a hip injury failed to train has been ruled out.
I dont think he (Ottens) will be out for the season, we havent ruled him out playing this week yet, if he pulls up well he is a very good chance to play this week, Thompson said.
While Geelongs form has been indifferent with three wins from its past five starts, they expect the Western Bulldogs to bounce back from its heavy 74-point loss to Adelaide last weekend.
The Bulldogs could get up to four players back from injury, including veterans Rohan Smith (ankle) and Chris Grant (knee).
You just know theyll kick more than five goals this week, they (Bulldogs) were fairly embarrassed last week against Adelaide and they will play much better, Thompson said.
Geelong has won two of its last encounters against the Bulldogs by an average margin of 40 points.
GEELONG'S BEST ON GROUND LAST ROUND, THE AS YET UN-SIGNED, JIMMY BARTEL
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