K rock Football

Healthy Cats keen for Tiger challenge

Can Geelong reverse the result of its Round 1 loss to Richmond? (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

THE health of Geelong’s senior list has its reserves side brimming with top-level talent and primed to take down VFL ladder leader Richmond at the Swinburne Centre on Saturday.

Gary Ablett’s immediate return from a one-week suspension saw James Parsons squeezed out of the AFL team on Thursday night, while versatile tall Zac Smith was omitted to make way for Rhys Stanley.

Parsons and Smith were among 14 AFL-listed players named to bolster a Cats VFL side that is seeking to extend its winning streak to four matches.

A further five rookie-listed players were picked in the extended squad.

“It’s a big challenge against Richmond this week,” Geelong coach Shane O’Bree said.

“They’re in good form, they’re a good VFL team, and we’re ready to take them on and give them our best effort.

“The boys all year have got better and better, and we’re fairly comfortable with where they’re at.”


In Round 1, Richmond beat Geelong by 14 points at GMHBA Stadium.

However, O’Bree was confident the Cats could reverse that result ahead of their mid-season bye.

Geelong will hope to make the most of forecast fine conditions after grinding their way to a one-point triumph over Footscray last week at a wet and windy Whitten Oval.

“It was a tough game last week to get a hell of a lot out of it because of the conditions,” O’Bree said.

“Hopefully this week we can control the game a bit better, use our skills and work together.

“We need to attack well, rather than just blazing away like we had to last week.

“We’ll keep working on the defensive side of our game, too.”

O’Bree felt there were definite similarities between Richmond’s AFL and VFL sides that made them hard to play against, with their renowned manic pressure a feature at both levels.

“They’re well drilled, and the VFL mature-age players that they’ve got have been playing in the system for a long time,” O’Bree said.

“They’re all on the same page with the way they want to play, and it will be a tight, contested game.”

Zach Guthrie was outstanding in the back half against Footscray last week and is primed for a job on either of Richmond’s AFL-listed talls, Callum Coleman-Jones or Mabior Chol.

Geelong’s talent-laden midfield will again feature experienced on-baller Scott Selwood, Lachie Fogarty and Charlie Constable.

Ryan Abbott, Darcy Fort, Wylie Buzza and Smith present an imposing quartet of tall timber capable of doing damage in the ruck and forward line.

Twitter: @shayne_hope


RICHMOND (1st) vs. GEELONG (9th)

Swinburne Centre – Punt Road Oval

Saturday, June 8, 11:00am