KING SET TO RETURN FOR CATS
IN TIME FOR FINALS
By Ben Jensen FORMER GEELONG SKIPPER Steven King is set to replace rival young ruckman Mark Blake in Geelong's lineup in time for the AFL Finals series, and the clash with Brisbane at the GABBA this Saturday night. Blake played just under fourty minutes in Sunday's loss to Port Adelaide, while Steven King toiled in the VFL side in Bendigo. King, who was dropped after playing two games earlier in the season, losses to Hawthorn and the Kangaroos, and after suffering a knee injury underwent surgery. Blake and number one ruckman, Brad Ottens, paired up for the better part of fifteen wins in a row while King made a return via the VFL side.
King returned for the Round 18 match against Richmond, pairing with Blake after Ottens pulled out pre-game. In days leading up to the match, coach Mark Thompson maintained he wanted to play all three ruckman. After Ottens was pronounced fit for the next match, all three ruckman were once more named in the squad of 27 players to face Adelaide on the Sunday. However on the Friday, Blake was 'rested' for the match. Blake played in the VFL the following week, while King and Ottens again combined, this time against the Kangaroos.
King was dropped to the VFL for the recent clash with Port Adelaide, although the prevailing opinion on the terraces was that the club was qualifying him for the VFL Finals series. A sort of bizarre hedging move, should they again change their minds about Blake and King during the finals series. Now, it seems Blake, who despite the Cats playing the best ruck pairing in the league in Port Adelaide Premiership duo Brendan Laid and Dean Brogan only managed fourty minutes of football, is on the outer. Mind you, he's certainly a lot more nimble than King; about the only stat King edges out Blake on is tackles - which could be significant come finals time.