Midfield trio in the mix

Max Holmes, Jordan Clark and Charlie Constable at training earlier this month. (Louisa Jones) 236282_40

Up-and-coming midfielders Charlie Constable, Jordan Clark and Max Holmes are pushing for selection, with Mitch Duncan to miss Saturday’s clash with Collingwood due to concussion protocols.

Duncan suffered a concussion in Geelong’s win over Gold Coast last Saturday, and will miss this Saturday’s game at the MCG.

Constable made his case to replace Duncan in the VFL last weekend with a game-high 34 disposals, 11 clearances and eight score involvements.

Clark also impressed in Geelong’s VFL win against Coburg with 20 disposals, nine tackles and six clearances.

Fellow midfielder and top Cats draft pick Holmes is also in the mix to play his fourth senior AFL match.

All three were selected as emergencies for the Geelong’s AFL side last week.

In the ruck both Darcy Fort and Rhys Stanley are performing well in the VFL.

Fort dominated with 24 disposals, eight marks and a team-high 11 score involvements to be named in Geelong’s best for the fourth consecutive week.

Stanley gathered 21 disposals, at 81 per cent efficiency, took nine marks and recorded five clearances.

He was dominant early, helping the Cats win nine of the first 10 clearances.

But their standout performances might not be enough to replace Geelong’s current ruck combo.

In past weeks Cats coach Chris Scott has indicated his preference for sticking with Esava Ratugolea with support from utility Mark Blicavs and defender Jack Henry.

Blicavs recorded 34 hitouts, six clearances, 18 disposals, six marks and six tackles while sharing the duties with Ratugolea against Gold Coast.

Whoever Scott and the selectors choose will face two-time All-Australian ruckman Brody Grundy, who has returned to form for the struggling 16th-placed Pies.

Tall forward Josh Jenkins moved to the top of the VFL’s goal-kicking tally on 22 after a six-goal haul against Coburg.

But like Fort and Stanley, Jenkins faces stiff competition for a spot in the senior side from the Cats existing three-pronged attack of Jeremy Cameron, Tom Hawkins and Gary Rohan.

Meanwhile, Cam Guthrie has escaped a lengthy period on the sidelines after injuring his shoulder against Gold Coast last Saturday.

“Cam suffered a mild AC joint sprain on the weekend. He came off the ground, was strapped up and was able to come back on and complete the game,” Cats football general manager Simon Lloyd said.

“He’s pulled up well, has good mobility and will be a test for this week.”

Hamstrung duo Mark O’Connor and Sam are also closing in on their AFL returns, according to Lloyd.

“Mark O’Connor completed a craft session on Tuesday and will complete main training later this week, which is really positive,” he said.

“He’ll look to ramp things up post bye.

“Sam Simpson has now returned to part-training and that will increase over the coming weeks.

“We’ll look to progress his loading and see how he copes with that loading. It’s positive signs.

“He’s continuing to work on his strength and stability to assist him going forward.”

Gryan Miers and Patrick Dangerfield continue to increase their loading as they recover from leg and ankle injuries respectively.

Dangerfield completed run-throughs and non-contact skills work at training this week.

Geelong will play Collingwood without spectators due to the snap lockdown following the Victoria’s latest COVID-19 outbreak.