By Luke Voogt
Zach Tuohy is set to return in boost for Geelong’s semi-finals hopes amid the absence of fellow Irishman Mark O’Connor and fellow defender Tom Stewart.
Tuohy acknowledged the GWS Giants were “dangerous” ahead of Friday’s do-or-die game, even without their leading goal-kicker Toby Greene, who was suspended for at least three weeks for umpire contact.
“He’s one of the most dangerous players in the competition – but unfortunately for us they’ve got quite a few of them in their side,” Tuohy told a press conference on Wednesday.
“I’m sure they’ll miss him, but we’re fully aware they’re a highly-competent side without him.”
The Cats suffered a 19-point upset in their previous clash with the Giants in round 21.
“We allowed them to move the ball far too quickly on that occasion, so that will be a focus,” Tuohy said.
“They’re a little bit Richmond-esque in terms of how they play and we saw just how dangerous they can be just a few weeks ago.”
“They’re a quality side who, when they’re given it on their terms, are basically impossible to stop.”
But Touhy indicated the Cats were more focussed on aspects of their own game they needed to improve, including their own ball movement, after last Friday’s loss to Port Adelaide.
“Generally, most of the focus most weeks is on yourself, and you tweak your game plan at the edges to accommodate what the opposition’s going to throw at you,” he said.
“Every top side we’ve seen for a long time now has more or less played their game and not worried too much about the opposition.
“But it’d be naïve to not tinker a little bit to try to accommodate their strengths.
“You don’t need much more motivation for a game than it being knockout,” he added.
Tuohy returns after missing three weeks due to hamstring issues, with defensive midfielder O’Connor suffering a hamstring tear in Geelong’s loss to Port Adelaide.
“It feels like it’s been a while and I’ve had a pretty good run with injury, generally, over my career, but three weeks is more than long enough,” he said.
Tuohy expected to continue to split his game time evenly between wing and halfback, with “maybe a little more time in the back half” in the absence of backline general Stewart, who is recovering from foot surgery.
Geelong Cats have also indicated explosive midfielder Patrick Dangerfield will start against GWS, after playing with a hand fracture against Port Adelaide.
“He’s played with a number of injuries throughout his career so it’s not something new to him,” Cats captain Joel Selwood said earlier this week.
“It’s quickly forgotten about in the heat of battle, I can tell you about that, the adrenaline will get to Patty and he’s a professional. He’ll deal with it.”
Selwood also responded to AFL legend Leigh Matthews’ criticism of Dangerfield’s finals performances.
“I don’t know how closely Leigh’s looked at his games,” he said.
“Being a teammate of Patty, he’s one that I want to take to the field with come finals time.”