K rock Football

Foot issue slows Dahlhaus

Luke Dahlhaus embraces Tom Hawkins during the win over Brisbane Lions in Round 6. (Getty Images by AFL Photos Image/Cameron Spencer)

LUKE Dahlhaus is facing a stint on the sidelines with a foot issue as Geelong prepares to make at least four changes for Monday night’s clash with Fremantle.

He will join captain Joel Selwood (hamstring), Jordan Clark (shoulder) and Gary Ablett (personal) in going out of the team that lost to Collingwood on July 16.

In better news for the Cats, defender Tom Stewart (collarbone) and Mitch Duncan (hamstring) will both return to the line-up.

Dahlhaus has only missed one match (Round 20, 2019) since arriving at the Cats in late in 2018 from the Western Bulldogs.

“It’s medium-term. It’s not a matter of him being back in a couple of weeks – it will be a little bit longer than that, which is disappointing,” Scott said.

“The onset was quite slow; it took us a little bit by surprise.”

However, Scott played down suggestions Optus Stadium, which has been known for its firm surface since opening in 2018, was a contributing factor.

“We’ve only been on there once,” he said. “We’re not allowed to train there; we’ve only played a game there, and the players found it quite good.

“And it was quite wet in the lead-up to the game.

“So, after not having any games there for a period of time, rain in the build-up, and only being on there for a shortened game, I’d be staggered if we could draw the conclusion that Optus Stadium was an issue.”

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With four changes, the door is open for the likes Charlie Constable and Lachie Fogarty to play their first AFL matches of 2020.

With Selwood sidelined, Constable, who hasn’t seen AFL action in more than a year, seems the ideal replacement as an inside midfielder.

“And he’s a big group of players hungry for (an) opportunity and (that) have performed well enough to give us confidence that they’re ready to perform at the level.

“It’s a little bit unfair to narrow it down to just Charlie, but he’s absolutely in the frame, and has been for some time as well.

“We feel like we’ve got a group of players, who through no fault of their own – certainly not due to training performance or their approach to their preparation they’ve found themselves out of the team.

“They’re hungry, they’re ready, so whether they all play this week or through the compressed period is yet to be seen.

“But, we’re pretty confident they’ll play at some stage.”

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Uncapped duo Francis Evans and Nathan Krueger are also in the mix to be in the 26-man squad named by the Cats tonight.

Evans, who was a surprise selection in last year’s National Draft despite playing just a couple of NAB League matches, was an emergency for the loss to the Magpies.

“It was acknowledgement for the fact he’s getting closer to senior selection; he’s performing really well,” Scott said.

“But, he’s in that big group of guys (close to selection), and in some ways, the ones that we pick will be less about who we think’s going the best.

“It will be more about who’s suited to the position we’re trying to fill.

“But it’s certainly recognition for Francis.”

However, Geelong fans hoping to see Nakia Cockatoo this week will have to wait a while.

He’ll line-up in the Cats’ scratch match against Fremantle on Sunday.

Twitter: @tom_king79