K rock Football

Doubts over Duncan

GEELONG star Mitch Duncan’s finals campaign is in jeopardy after he suffered medial ligament damage in his left knee during Friday night’s qualifying final defeat to Collingwood.

The midfielder left the ground before half-time and did not return as the Cats failed to recover from a slow start, eventually going down 9.7 (61) to 7.9 (51) at the MCG.

Duncan is almost certain to miss next week’s semi-final showdown with reigning premier West Coast and is no certainty to return this season.

“It’s a medial ligament injury,” Cats coach Chris Scott said.

“It looks very unlikely that he’ll play next week. The extent of it after that, I’m not sure.”

In a horror opening, Jed Bews suffered an ankle injury during the warm-up and Geelong conceded the first 10 inside-50s of the match, coughing up a 20-point head start.

Luke Dahlhaus (leg) also hobbled off during the first half, however, both returned and played out the match.

Gary Rohan will need further assessment on a hamstring injury suffered late in the match.

Ruckman Rhys Stanley was a late withdrawal against Collingwood and will be in the mix to return to take on West Coast duo Nic Naitanui and Tom Hickey.

Scott conceded Stanley would likely have played against the Magpies if Geelong had forecast the dry conditions.

“If we knew it was going to be perfect conditions, we probably would’ve played the team that we picked, but we thought it was going to be more slippery,” Scott said.

“There was an argument either way anyway, but on balance, and I’m one of six or seven people who have a say in it, I think over the next 24 hours my assessment would be we probably should’ve played him.

“But that won’t be unanimous.”

Despite the defeat, Scott was bullish about Geelong’s chances of bouncing back against West Coast, which thrashed Essendon at Optus Stadium on Thursday night.

“We’re confident, and we should be confident, too,” Scott said.

“We didn’t get the job done tonight and after a bad patch we went down by 10 points.

“We don’t give much credence to form over a long period, do we? West Coast were good last night, but they weren’t that good in their last game prior to that.

“Look, they’re a good team and they’ll be hard to beat, but we’ve got confidence.”

Geelong will almost certainly be scheduled to host West Coast at the MCG next Friday night.

It will be the first meeting between the sides at the venue since the 2011 preliminary final.

Twitter: @shayne_hope