K rock Football

Cats set to mark milestones at home

Gary Ablett celebrates a goal with captain Joel Selwood in Geelong’s win over Carlton. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

GARY Ablett and Joel Selwood look set to celebrate significant milestones in front of the Geelong faithful after the AFL agreed to the club’s request for a home game at GMHBA Stadium in Round 5.

The Cats will take on St Kilda in a Sunday twilight match, and all going to plan, Ablett will become just the 17th player in VFL/AFL history to play 350 matches.

While Selwood is on target to join Corey Enright, Ian Nankervis, Jimmy Bartel and Sam Newman as the only men to pull on the Hoops on 300 occasions.

“That looks to be the highlight of the fixture,” acting Geelong CEO Simon Kelleher said.

“It’s got real potential to be a great day at GMHBA Stadium if everything goes to plan.

“Joel’s 300th, Gary’s 350th, and it could be Jack Steven’s first game against his old club.

“It could be a real blockbuster.”

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Kelleher has labelled the overall fixture as “really positive” for Geelong.

While the Cats did request all 11 home games at GMHBA Stadium, it is comfortable with the 9-2 split which will see it as the “home” team at the MCG on Easter Monday against Hawthorn and for the annual Country Game with Essendon in Round 8.

“Our position is we still would prefer 11 home games at GMHBA, but it’s a nice consolation prize playing those two big Melbourne clubs in those signature events,” Kelleher said.

“And we’re really pleased we’ve got the equal most Friday night games with Richmond (six), and that’s a real compliment to the club and the attractive brand and competitive brand of football that we play that Channel 7 clearly want us on Friday night football.

“It’s ten prime time slots in total once you factor in Saturday nights and the Easter Monday game.”

Kelleher admits the Cats would have preferred their matches at GMHBA Stadium have been better spread.

They play four of those nine in the final five rounds of the season, with gaps of five weeks and four weeks between matches at the venue during the middle of the year.

Despite again making six interstate trips during the home-and-away season, including three in the opening six rounds, Geelong has avoided consecutive matches outside Victoria.

“Last year we had back-to-back interstate trips, and a number of clubs have to experience that this year,” Kelleher said.

“We’ve, thankfully, been able to avoid that. That’s what we were most concerned about.”

Twitter: @tom_king79