K rock Football

Taylor to regain touch in VFL

Geelong veteran Harry Taylor. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

HARRY Taylor’s late-season bid to regain his spot in Geelong’s AFL side will begin under the GMHBA Stadium lights on Saturday night.

Taylor will return from his latest foot injury via the Cats’ VFL team in their clash against Essendon, his first game at any level in more than a month.

The 32-year-old’s only other appearance at VFL level came in the Cats’ Round 11 win over Port Melbourne before he was recalled to the AFL side. But he lasted only two appearances before another setback.

Taylor will be joined by quartet Jordan Cunico, Ryan Abbott, Jackson Thurlow and Jamaine Jones back from AFL level as the third-placed Cats host Essendon (ninth) in their final regular season home game this season.

Mark O’Connor and James Parsons have been called up to Geelong’s AFL side.

Cats VFL coach Shane O’Bree said his side still has its sights on a top-two finish heading into September but knows they have a tough three weeks ahead of them.

“We know the next three weeks are going to be challenging,” O’Bree said. “Essendon and Box Hill are fighting a spot in the top four as well and Coburg at Coburg is going to be a tough challenge.

“So top two (finish) will be a reward for our effort. But we’ve got to respect those teams and keep playing the way we’re doing.”

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Essendon was regarded as one of Geelong’s challengers for a top-four finish a month ago. But five straight defeats – including a one-point loss to Werribee – has seen the Bombers tumble down the ladder.

The Bombers are still one of four teams to beat the Cats in 2018 – their seven-point victory at Windy Hill back in Round 7 is Geelong’s biggest defeat of the season.

Overall, the two clubs have played on 12 occasions with the ledger squared at six wins each.

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One player who’s impressed O’Bree since coming into the side two matches ago is St Mary’s forward Aiden Grace, who’s kicked six goals.

The Tasmanian recruit has filled the role left by Stewart Crameri’s absence and O’Bree said he’s quickly adapted to the Cats structure.

“Gracey has slotted into a new forward system than what he plays in local footy,” O’Bree said.

“You’ve got guys only new to the forward line but they’re working together pretty well and they know what they need to do and work for each other.

“There are some scenarios where the chemistry’s not there but over time you build that. So Gracey has been really good just to play his role in the team and get rewarded with a few goals as well.”

Twitter: @GreenBradley

VFL ROUND 19

GEELONG (3rd) vs. ESSENDON (9th)

GMHBA Stadium

Saturday, August 11, 7:00pm

WERRIBEE (12th) vs. BOX HILL HAWKS (4th)

Avalon Airport Oval

Saturday, August 11, 1:00pm

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