K rock Football

Narkle “unlucky”, as four return

Geelong midfielder Quinton Narkle has been dropped for the clash with Port Adelaide. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens

AN “unlucky” Quinton Narkle has lost his place as Geelong prepares to welcome back four players for Thursday night’s clash with Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.

Mitch Duncan (concussion) and Mark Blicavs (calf) return after missing the win over Collingwood on May 29, while Patrick Dangerfield (syndesmosis) and Mark O’Connor (hamstring) are back in action after lengthier stints on the sidelines.

However, Cam Guthrie, a late withdrawal from the match-up with the Magpies with an AC joint injury suffered against Gold Coast, won’t take on the Power but is expected to be ready for next week’s meeting with the Western Bulldogs.

Narkle starred against the Suns with a career-high 34 possessions and followed that up with 25 touches against Collingwood.

“That’s been a really difficult situation for us to manage,” coach Chris Scott said. “Not so much bringing those guys in because they’re ready and they’ve had a good preparation.

“It’s more we’ve had some guys in the team who we’re happy with and are going to have to make way.

“I don’t normally comment specifically about their situations, but Quinton Narkle’s been squeezed out of our 22, and that’s a desperately unfortunate situation for him in the short term.

“I can’t see him being out of the team long, given the way he’s been playing.

“My old coach often said, “it’s rare that players are unlucky”; I think this is one of those rarities.”

Scott says the conversation with Narkle to inform of his omission was approached with “great empathy”.

“It was a really difficult conversation but hopefully one that showed that we support him and what we think he needs to do,” Scott said.

“I suspect in a year or two he is going to be so good that he’s just an automatic selection, and we are going to have that conversation with other young players.”

Scott says the bye came at a good time for Dangerfield, who last played in the win over North Melbourne in Round 5.

It was the Brownlow medallist’s first game back after a three-week suspension.

“It would have a been a harder decision to play him if we had a game last week,” Scott said. “I suspect he would have come up for that one.

“But the fact he had an extra week of training under his belt with his teammates, which is important as well because bringing a few players back into the team does potentially cause some disruption.

“I would guess I would argue that O’Connor and Dangerfield are the only ones who have missed a decent chunk of time.

“Duncan and Blicavs have only missed one.

“So, the extra week of training, given we had the bye, has helped Pat, and he’s going to be ready.”

Scott says small forward Gryan Miers (fractured leg) is a chance to return to action next week, while midfielder Sam Simpson (quad) faces more time on the sidelines.

“Unfortunately, with Sam, he has a history of these little soft-tissue injuries,” Scott said.

“In isolation, they don’t amount to much. But, when you put them together, we just need to be a bit more careful with him.

“He did this quad in rehab from another injury.

“We’re going to take our time with him. He had injuries last year and forced his way into our grand final team, so that’s the capacity he has.

“We want to put a plan together where that’s on the table for him later in the year. I think all those things speak to the cautious approach we’re going to take with his next month or so.”

Twitter: @tom_king79