K rock Football

Abbott urged to keep his head up

Ryan Abbott is closing in on an AFL debut. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

RYAN Abbott is probably scratching his head and wondering just what he needs to do to earn an AFL call-up.

A month of strong, dominant form at VFL level wasn’t enough to earn Abbott promotion in Geelong’s line-up for tonight’s clash against Carlton at GMHBA Stadium.

Instead, Rhys Stanley has been recalled at the expense of Zac Smith as the Cats ruck spot revolving door continueds

The encouraging sign for Abbott is that he’s at least been named an emergency for the clash with the Blues. He may be held over from Saturday morning’s VFL clash just in case.

If not, the 26-year-old 200cm big man will focus on continuing his upward trend for Geelong’s VFL side in their early morning showdown against Williamstown.

VFL coach Shane O’Bree said Abbott is making encouraging progress and will continue to stress to him the need to maintain consistent form to break through for an AFL call-up.

“He’s not that far off at the moment,” O’Bree told krockfootball.com.au of the Grovedale product.

“The worst thing that Ryan can do at the moment is think, ‘gee I’m unlucky’ and be grumpy that he hasn’t got an opportunity this week.

“He’s in form and, once you do that, you’ve got to keep it going. So we’re hoping that Ryan keeps that going because he’s doing all the right things at the moment.”

Abbott is averaging 26 hit-outs to go along with 12 disposals, three marks and three tackles a game so far this season and O’Bree is delighted by his progress.

“Ryan is different to the other two ruckmen (Smith and Stanley),” O’Bree said.

“His ruck craft has been really solid all season and what he’s added over the last few weeks is his ability to mark the ball and be an option down the line.

“He’s been playing forward a bit more so he’s having an impact around the ground. He’s just to keep having that mindset that he’s got to get to as many contests as he can.”

Meanwhile, O’Bree is thrilled by the elevation of Jamaine Jones and said the goalkicking forward had come a long way in his time at the club.

“My personal opinion (is) the ‘JJ’ who rocked up the first day of training to now is a totally different player,” O’Bree said.

“He’s matured that much and he acts like an elite AFL player. It’s a pat on the back for our development and welfare people at the club.

“I’m thrilled for ‘JJ’ and really looking forward to seeing how he goes.”

Twitter: @GreenBradley

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