K rock Football

Final rehearsal for Falcons

Geelong Falcons coach Danny O”Keefe speaks to his players during the training session at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

GEELONG Falcons coach Danny O’Keefe says the squad that plays the second of two practice matches against Greater Western Victoria on Sunday will be “close” to the team that will run out for Round 1 next week.

The reigning TAC Cup premier rounds out its preparation for 2018 at Mars Stadium with two games against the Rebels.

“I think we’re at a stage now if we can get some match practice with each other come Round 1, it’s more ideal than not,” O’Keefe said following training at GMHBA Stadium.

“I mentioned to the group that if you’re playing in game one, it doesn’t mean you’re ruled out for Round 1, but otherwise look at it as an opportunity to stake your claim.

“We’re at that end of pre-season where we need to jell that first group together.”

TAC CUP GIRLS: FALCONS BACK TO BUSINESS

49 of the 53 players on the Falcons list will play across the two games, giving O’Keefe and his coaching staff a range of options early in the season.

“Hats off to our high performance and medical team to get them where they were, because before Christmas and after Christmas, we had quite a few in the rehab group,” he said.

“So the boys have come a long way.”

One of those missing this weekend will be AFL Academy member Cooper Stephens, who has been battling some groin soreness.

“He’ll be right for Round 1 or 2 – 2 worst case I think,” O’Keefe said. “The primary reason we’re not playing him this Sunday is to get him right for Round 1.

“He’s had some load issues. These guys have come off doing some sort of pre-season at club land in the past in their junior career.

“Now, all of a sudden, they’re doing a semi-professional pre-season.

“We’d be scratching our heads if we didn’t have load issues this time of year.”

Twitter: @tom_king79

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