Forwards racing the clock to play

MOVING FORWARD: Marc Woolnough hopes his 2002 debut will be at the MCG on Saturday against Hawthorn.  
Wednesday, May 8
Geelong Advertiser

KEY Geelong forwards Ronnie Burns and Mitchell White are in doubt for Saturday's clash with Hawthorn after being restricted to running laps at last night's training session.

White has suffered a recurrence of the back-related hamstring injury which kept him out of action early in the season. He has until tomorrow to prove his fitness.

Burns, who suffered a hip injury in the match against Fremantle late last month, will also be given until tomorrow before a decision is made.

But coach Mark Thompson said the goalsneak was not without a chance of playing.

``If he doesn't play this week I could guarantee he would play next week. He's about an 80-20 chance,'' Thompson said.

But in better news, the Cats will welcome back Aaron Lord for the clash against his old side, while Marc Woolnough and veteran David Mensch are also pushing for selection.

Thompson said Lord was a definite starter and that Woolnough was ``very, very close''.

But for 158-game player Mensch who has found some recent good form in the VFL, he said it was a matter of finding the room to fit him into Geelong's forward line, particularly since skipper Ben Graham has made the transition to attack.

``Ben played all right, (Kent) Kingsley played all right and Cameron Mooney, he didn't play as well in the conditions this week, but he's been all right too,'' Thompson said.

``Mensch has just got to bide his time and keep playing the best footy he can play.''

Thompson admitted his abundance of tall forwards was a problem he didn't mind having, particularly when facing the in-form Hawks on Saturday.

Hawthorn found its best form of the season in demolishing the Kangaroos by over 11-goals on the weekend, but Thompson warned his young troops could match the Hawks' running game.

``The Kangaroos played flat - it's not very often Brent Harvey doesn't get a go, and you've got John Blakey on the bench,'' he said.

``But at the same time, Hawthorn were very good on the day.

``Some of their (Hawthorn's) players are getting fitter - (John) Barker has played a few games now, and Nick Holland's in the same boat.

It's pretty neutral, we will both be scrambling to get our fourth victory on the board. That's the sort of competition it is. Wins are crucial.''