Geelong is set to be boosted by the return of forward Gary Rohan for its important clash against Port Adelaide this weekend.
Rohan hasn’t since last year’s preliminary final loss after a sciatica issue in his back and hip limited his ability to train over the offseason.
He made his return through the VFL earlier this month and coach Chris Scott said he was confident Rohan would line-up against the Power on Saturday.
“We want to see how he goes over the next few days but he doesn’t need to do anything special over the next few days to be available,” Scott said.
“The plan, given that there was a VFL bye last week was to have him ready to play last week, knowing that there was a bit of a buffer there.
“He did a training load that was in excess of his game load the previous couple of weeks, which if he pulled up well from, had him available this week.
“So, [I’m] pretty sure he’s going to play.”
Scott said it was also likely Jed Bews and Rhys Stanley would be declared fit to play.
Bews missed last week’s 10-point loss to St Kilda after suffering concussion when he was elbowed in the head the week before against Greater Western Sydney.
Under the AFL’s new concussion protocols, players who suffer concussion are unable to play for a minimum 12-day period.
“He is [on track to play on the weekend],” Scott said.
“There have certainly been no hiccups in his rehab so again, [I could] touch a little bit on the concussion incidents and talk about the spectrum that exists and all those things but it’s just not valuable.
“He’s in the protocol and they tell me he’ll be available.”
Stanley was also in doubt after injuring his ankle against the Saints.
“I think it’s likely that he’ll have a light week and then be available to play,” Scott said.
“That’s the advice that I’ve been given. His ankle injury wasn’t serious.
“He missed a week, was available to play, and then just jagged it in the first five minutes, but was able to come back and play the game out.
“We haven’t had the complete prognosis given to us yet but put it this way, by this stage of the week, if it’s clear that he wouldn’t be playing we would know and we haven’t got that information.”
Scott said he was expecting a tough game at GMHBA Stadium, with the Power on a four-game winning streak after losing its first five games.
“I suspect without completely knowing that they are playing more like the way they wanted to,” Scott said.
“I don’t think it’s been a deliberate change necessarily in the way they’ve been trying to play – they’ve just been able to execute it better.
“I think we’ve seen right across the competition that a few key players out make a difference and those guys coming back also has a positive influence.
“They seem to be back to the way they were last year – that’s a pretty superficial assessment, but [they’re] certainly going a lot better.”
While they won’t be on GMHBA Stadium this weekend, draftees Toby Conway and Flynn Kroeger will get their first taste of professional football this weekend against Northern Bullants in the VFL.
The Cats’ medical team has taken a conservative approach with the duo, who have both been managing hip injuries, since they were drafted in last year’s AFL draft.
Conway was selected at pick 24 and has been earmarked as the Cats’ ruckman of the future while Kroeger is an explosive midfielder taken with selection 48.
“Toby and Flynn will play managed minutes in the VFL against the Northern Bullants this weekend,” Geelong head of medical and conditioning services Harry Taylor said.
“This is an exciting step forward for Toby and Flynn in their reconditioning programs, and it will be great to get a look at our new draftees.”
In other good news for Geelong’s ruck stocks, off-season recruit Jonathon Ceglar is back training with the main group, while Esava Ratugolea is already recovering from ankle surgery during the week.
“Esava had surgery on his ankle last Monday. He will now follow a graduated return to train program,” Taylor said.
“Esava is an integral member of our team and we look forward to seeing him back out in the number 17 jumper soon.”