Geelong's Cameron Ling has done the job on captains Wayne Campbell, Richmond, Eagle Ben Cousins and Magpie Nathan Buckley. Is Bomber James Hird the next in line? Digital image: GEELONG ADVERTISER  
Monday July 15
Geelong Advertiser _ DYLAN HOWARD

CAPTAIN crusher Cameron Ling wants the scalp of Essendon champion James Hird.

Off the back of his victory over Nathan Buckley, Geelong's designated skipper stopper has admitted he wants to play on the Essendon captain at Colonial Stadium on Saturday night.

``I would like another crack at him,'' the 21-year-old redhead said, conceding Hird towelled him up when the sides met in the season's opening game.

``Round one I played on James Hird and he beat me pretty convincingly so I wouldn't mind having another shot at him.

``(But) they have one of the best midfields in the competition so there are a number of players.

``There is Joe Misiti or Jason Johnson. Whoever Bomber (Thompson) wants me to go on, I'm happy to do a job.''

The sixth-placed Cats meet Essendon this week as they search for their 10th win of the season and seventh on the trot, a feat not reached since 1991.

Saturday's 19.13 (127) to 15. 9 (99) victory over Collingwood at the MCG came about from midfield dominance, where Ling wore Buckley like a second skin.

The pair clashed late in the first quarter, when the Pies' skipper smeared blood on the Ling's jumper and was booked for misconduct.

Both players topped 20-plus possessions but Ling's intensity pressured Buckley into many mistakes.

The third-year Geelong player is in the best form of his 38-game career, claiming the scalps of opposition captains Wayne Campbell, West Coast's Ben Cousins and Buckley in the past three rounds.

``They are all certainly three very good players who cover a lot of territory so I am pretty buggered at the moment,'' Ling said.

``They're all different challenges but I'm happy to play on such good players.''

Ling was again punishing on Saturday and showed both the attacking and defensive dimensions of his game.

com Ironically Buckley described these traits in a newspaper column yesterday.``The ability to defend, attack and balance the two in varying circumstances throughout a match decides the victor in one-on-one contests and more often than not the team that earns the four points,'' Buckley's column said.But Geelong coach Mark Thompson predicts help for Ling might have to come shortly.

``He won't be able to keep it up for too much longer because it really wears you down,'' Thompson said post match.

``We will need someone else to do that soon for us. (But) he has done some big jobs and done them very well. He is a strong boy Cameron Ling, both mentally and physically.''