Cats expect fired-up Kangaroos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats expect fired-up Kangaroos

By Roger Vaughan 04/06/2008 07:25:33 PM Comments (0)

Geelong expect a fired-up and well-informed North Melbourne when the two AFL sides clash this Friday night at Telstra Dome.

The last time the two sides met, the Cats crushed North by 106 points in a qualifying final on the way to their historic premiership.

Asked about North's motivation to atone for that debacle, Thompson bluntly replied: "They're only human, aren't they?"

Geelong had started their premiership defence this season with eight straight wins until a fortnight ago, when Collingwood crushed them by 86 points.

Cats coach Mark Thompson expects North coach Dean Laidley may well have spent some time on the phone with his former boss and Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse ahead of Friday's game.

"I suppose Mick and Dean have been pretty good friends, no doubt they would have spoken this week about what Collingwood did and everything else," Thompson said.

"We're expecting a little bit of that, it's a good test for us.

"They (North) love playing the Cats ... they enjoy the challenge of playing Geelong and they've had a pretty good record against us."

The Cats rebounded strongly from the Collingwood loss, brushing aside Carlton by 56 points last Saturday night and welcoming back Brad Ottens and Tom Lonergan.

It was Ottens' first game for the season after recovering from a foot injury, while Lonergan has courageously fought back from losing a kidney after a horrific on-field collision late in the 2006 season.

Lonergan was a late replacement for key forward Cameron Mooney, who hurt his shoulder against the `Pies.

The Cats know they have to nurse Ottens through the next month as he regains match fitness, but the returns of the ruckman and Lonergan were a timely morale boost.

"He (Ottens) was pumped, excited - that's what he does, he's a footballer, he doesn't care about much else," Thompson said.

"It was really hurting him that he wasn't playing.

"He and Tommy Lonergan together, their inclusions helped with the spirit of the team."

Mooney, like Ottens, is a key member of the Cats line-up and they want him back quickly.

But Thompson was unsure how long it would take for his shoulder to heal.

"We're not sure whether he (Mooney) is going to play yet," Thompson said.

"He's just sore ... to play, he's got to be comfortable.

"We can say `yeah, he should be right to play' ... the player has got to be comfortable he can play with the injury he's got.

"It's not wear-and-tear, he got a knock against Collingwood."

Thompson was more confident Paul Chapman (hamstring) will return, but said Geelong will have to wait until Thursday to further assess Josh Hunt, who missed the Carlton game with a shoulder problem.

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