VFL practice target

Friday, March 14

GEELONG deputy vice-captain Cameron Ling will make his comeback through the VFL tomorrow.

Ling was named in the Cats' 28-man squad for tonight's practice match against Essendon but coach Mark Thompson confirmed he would be nursed back into competition through the VFL.

Ling badly rolled his ankle in the Cats' first Wizard Cup match against the Western Bulldogs four weeks ago.

The Cats' VFL coach Ron Watt said having Ling play would be an enormous benefit for Geelong's young players.

``He's a leader at the club and I think it will be good for all our younger players and the blokes that are new at the club to play alongside him.

``He'll set a huge example, not just with his work rate but his direction on the ground.''

Meanwhile, Cameron Mooney will be missing from the side which travels to Lavington today after rolling his ankle against Collingwood last weekend.

But Thompson said both Ling and Mooney would be available for the opening round of the AFL season against the Western Bulldogs on March 30.

Mooney's injury paves the way for young forward Henry Playfair to have his first taste of senior football after he was named in the squad.

The Cats have also named Mitchell White as well as David Clarke and James Bartel, who will play his first senior game of the year after a couple of runs in the VFL.

Clarke has struggled with an achilles injury during the preseason that required a course of injections but has played in the past two VFL matches.

Kent Kingsley, a late withdrawal against Collingwood last weekend, has been named in the squad but a decision on whether he will play will not be made until this morning.

Young defender Will Slade, elevated off the rookie list late last year, has been named despite rolling his ankle at training on Wednesday night.

``We'll wait and see how he comes up,'' football manager Garry Davidson said.

``He just slightly rolled his ankle. We don't think it's a major concern and so we'll just give him a little bit of time to get it right.

``We'll decide (Friday) what we do.''