K rock Football

First hitout for VFL Cats

Geelong will play the first of four practice matches against Essendon on Thursday. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

GEELONG has named a squad with an almost even mix of AFL and VFL listed players for Thursday’s opening practice match against Essendon.

To be played ahead of the Cats’ JLT Series clash with the Bombers, the AFL contingent features a number of draftees, including Ben Jarvis, Jacob Kennerley, Jake Tarca and Oscar Brownless, rookie signings Stefan Okunbor and Blake Schlensog, and pre-draft signing Nathan Kreuger.

Among the VFL players are former AFL listed Cat Dean Gore, who is on the comeback trail from a serious knee injury, and newcomers Nik Rokahr, Luke Smith, Alex Cincotta, Charlie Wilson and Angus Byrne.

Dan Capiron, who has been sidelined since 2017 with a hip problem, has also been selected.

The Cats will play four practice matches in total, with the clash against Essendon to be followed by meetings with Werribee (March 15 – Avalon Airport Oval), Collingwood (March 22 – Holden Centre) and Casey Demons (March 30 – Avalon Airport Oval).

MEANWHILE, James Tsitas and Aaron Black have been named co-captains of the VFL team for 2019.

Tsitas, who played 29 VFL games with North Ballarat, joined Geelong in 2016 and has played 53 games in the Hoops, winning the 2017 best-and-fairest.

Black is on the comeback trail from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament suffered while playing with the Cats’ AFL team in June last year.

The former North Melbourne forward was delisted by Geelong at the end of last year after 57 games and 69 goals in the game’s top flight.

The five-man leadership group also includes Dean Gore, Ethan Floyd and Jordan Keras.

Twitter: @tom_king79

GEELONG SQUAD

10. Ben Jarvis*
12. Wylie Buzza*
15. Nathan Krueger*
20. Oscar Brownless*
21. Jacob Kennerley*
31. Jordan Cunico*
33. Jake Tarca*
34. James Parsons*
36. Blake Schlensog*
37. Sam Simpson
41. Jamaine Jones
43. Stefan Okunbor
45. Ryan Abbott
47. Dean Gore
49. Nik Rokahr
50. Dan Capiron
51. James Tsitas
52. Jackson McLachlan
53. Jordan Keras
54. Cooper Jones
55. Luke Smith
58. Alex Cincotta
60. Jack Blood
62. Campbell Floyd
64. Charlie Wilson
72. Adam Garner
73. Zach Zdybel
74. James Gow
81. Angus Byrne