BIG CAT DILEMMA: THOMPSON
By Mark Heenan GEELONG CATS COACH MARK 'BOMBER' THOMPSON admits the threat of recalling its biggest names for this weekends AFL season opener against the Brisbane Lions, could jeopardise the clubs early season fortunes. The Cats won the NAB Cup a fortnight ago but all that will be forgotten once the siren rings at 2:10PM this Saturday.
The pre-season premiers are undecided whether to risk Steven King (achilles), Brad Ottens (osteitis pubis) and flamboyant forwards Kent Kingsley and Steve Johnson (hamstrings), all making audacious bids for inclusion.
Neither Ottens nor King played a single match during Geelongs successful NAB Cup campaign, claiming its first piece of silverware in 43 years, but trained strongly at Skilled Stadium on Wednesday.
Saturdays match against the Brisbane Lions is the first of three successive home games for Geelong at Skilled Stadium, with games to follow against the Kangaroos in round two and Hawthorn in round three.
The list is probably the strongest its been, but that can also be a danger, Thompson said.
Were worried that we play all these guys who are available now for round one but havent played any NAB Cup games is a concern that theyre coming in cold.
We just have to pick our team, which is going to give us the best chance to play as well as we can on Saturday.
Well (Ottens and King) are both are available, its whether we play them both, thats the quandary we are in really, neither have played a game really, which is a danger.
Gritty on-baller Cameron Ling will return after bruising his right knee during the clubs pre-season grand final win over Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, two weeks ago.
Talented midfielder James Kelly is still several weeks away as he shrugs off a shoulder complaint, while defender Tom Harley battles to overcome a hip/knee injury and wont resume until round three.
Thompson not overly concerned with the unavailability of its star players, especially as Brisbane Lions triple premiership player Nigel Lappin is sidelined indefinitely with an ankle injury and doubts over Jonathon Browns immediate fitness.
In two of his last three outings against Geelong, 29-year-old Lappin has racked up an impressive 53 disposals and collected two Brownlow medal votes.
Theyve got a couple out, weve got a couple out too, so he (Nigel Lappin) has always played well against Geelong, he is a great player, he said.
I know hes got a pretty significant injury which is quite sad because its not the sort of thing you want at the end of your career.
Geelong has lost nine of their past ten encounters against the Brisbane Lions by an average losing margin of 45 points.
The Cats defeated the Lions in last years Skilled Stadium match by 27 points.