K rock Football

Question mark over Duncan

MITCH Duncan’s odds of appearing in Geelong’s opening-round clash with Adelaide in less than a fortnight seem to be lengthening.

The star midfielder has been battling a calf complaint across much of the pre-season, and while the door hasn’t been closed on him taking on the Crows, it appears unlikely.

“Mitch is improving,” assistant coach Matthew Knights said following Saturday’s AAMI Community Series win over Essendon.

“I’d say we’d have to wait another week or two before we decide whether he’s going to be in the mix for Round 1.

“But, he’s certainly making progression. (He) did some good training on the track this week; change of direction, kicking, moving up and down the ground.

“So, that’s going well for Mitch this week, and we’re just going to have to wait-and-see how the next two weeks pan out for him.”

Young big man Esava Ratugolea is also no certainty of playing against the Crows as he recovers from a leg issue.

“Esava got a kick in the leg; we thought he would pretty much be right to come up tonight,” Knights said.

“He’s moving well, he’s improving, but we just didn’t want to take the risk tonight with such a long season, and (with) such an important player Esava is, who can play ruck or forward.

“We were probably a little bit cautious with that one, just to make sure he’s going to be available for selection come Round 1.

“All’s good there, scans are clear, everything’s fine. He just got a kick in the leg and is just taking a little bit longer to recover than we first thought.”

It’s better news for ruck Rhys Stanley and small forward Luke Dahlhaus, who are expected to be available to travel to Adelaide.

Stanley missed the match-up with the Bombers due to a concussion suffered in last week’s practice match against Collingwood.

Dahlhaus has had a groin issue but returned to be one of the best in Geelong’s VFL practice match win against North Melbourne on Saturday morning.

“Dal’s trained really well this week, and we threw-up whether we’d play him tonight or not,” Knights said.

“So, he’s tracking really well, and he’ll be available for selection for sure for Round 1.”

Twitter: @tom_king79