Four casualties as axe swings in Catland

Friday, April 18

GEELONG has axed four players from the side that capitulated to Collingwood last weekend as it searches for its first win of the season.

The casualties include forwards Steve Johnson and Charlie Gardiner, the experienced Mitchell White and midfielder David Spriggs.

Into the side comes James Bartel, backman Will Slade and James Rahilly and David Clarke.

Bartel, one of Geelong's first year shining lights last year, has been pushing for senior selection after a series of strong games in the VFL while Clarke has earned his recall after a week in the VFL.

Rahilly was a late withdrawal last week with an ankle injury but trained this week.

But there could yet be a twist in the tail, with the Cats naming young ruckman Paul Chambers as an emergency.

Skipper and ruckman Steven King has shouldered the ruck duties virtually on his own this year and earlier this week flagged the possibility of a move up forward and the introduction of a second ruckman. He said during the week that some back-up would be useful against the Demons' duo of Jeff White and Darren Jolly.

``I don't mind running out a game and pushing myself, but probably for the team's benefit it's good to go forward and have a spell,'' he said.

Coach Mark Thompson laid down the challenge to Geelong's core of senior players during the week to lift.

He said the young brigade had shown the way with their willingness and that the senior players needed to match their endeavour.

``Ultimately it is the guys who have been here a while who have to step up and take responsibility on the field to play at the level they're capable of,'' he said.