K rock Football

Cats conservative with Skipper

Geelong captain Joel Selwood in action against Gold Coast in Round 5. (AFL Photos Image via Getty Images/Daniel Pockett)

JOEL Selwood’s hopes of returning from a hamstring injury for Geelong’s blockbuster clash with West Coast on Saturday night appear slim, despite coach Chris Scott expecting him to be available.

The skipper suffered the injury early in the loss to Collingwood on July 16.

If the 32-year-old were to return, it would be off the back of just a 16-day break.

“Joel might not like it, but I think we’re leaning on the conservative side,” Scott said.

“And if the mistake is that he misses one game in the short term to play an extra one later in the season then I think that would be a good error to make.”

CATS: JOEL SELWOOD INTERVIEW

Fellow veteran Tom Hawkins will play after successfully challenging the grading of his report for striking Fremantle’s Luke Ryan on Monday night.

The star forward was able to argue his strike only made body contact with the Docker, with his one-match suspension becoming a fine and leaving him free to play the Eagles.

Scott said he had spoken privately with Hawkins about the latest in a line of indiscretions that have brought him to the attention of the Match Review Officer.

“It’s clearly not good enough to say, ‘I’ve got a bit of a bad habit, and it’s too hard for me to change it at this stage of my career’,” Scott said.

“But, I’m not speaking about Tom specifically there. I’m speaking about all players and the responsibility they have to the game, to play within the rules and the spirit of the rules.”

Jack Steven, who was listed as managed out of the win over Fremantle, won’t return to take on the Eagles.

Scott said Geelong is working to a plan for the former St Kilda midfielder.

“He’s got to complete the plan,” Scott said. “It’s not a matter of putting markers in place that he’s got to achieve.

“He certainly wasn’t behind on anything specific that we were after; we just always had a plan.”

Tom Atkins looks set to be missing again with a rib cartilage issue that has sidelined him for more than a month.

“We’re not going to ask him to play until he’s really ready, and we still haven’t made that assessment yet,” Scott said.

“He’s going to be an important player for us through the season, and we’re not going to ask him to play sore.

“He needs to be really right – we just haven’t quite worked that out yet.”

Twitter: @tom_king79