Cats coach locks in Varcoe for decider - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats coach locks in Varcoe for decider

By John Salvado and Roger Vaughan 19/09/2008 11:00:33 PM Comments (0)

Coach Mark Thompson has guaranteed that Travis Varcoe will retain his place in the Geelong team for the AFL grand final after the young forward played an important role in Friday night's 29-point victory over the Western Bulldogs.

With star forward Paul Chapman rated a 90 per cent chance by Thompson to return from a hamstring injury for next week's decider, Varcoe had been considered the player most likely to make way.

But Varcoe made the strongest of cases to hold his spot with an impressive 18-possession game in the preliminary final, including a third-quarter goal.

"Travis won't go out," said Thompson after the 12.11 (83) to 7.12 (54) victory.

"Travis wouldn't be considered (for omission).

"I'll say that publicly, if he doesn't get a virus he'll play next week.

"Every year, every club, whoever we play, they'll probably have some tough decisions to make at the selection table too - but that's a good position to be in, as hard as it is."

Varcoe, 20, was unable to win a place in last year's Cats premiership team, after playing 18 games in his debut season.

If Chapman is passed fit to play next week against the winner of the Hawthorn-St Kilda clash, David Wojcinski could be the unlucky player to make way after only forcing his way back into the Cats senior team this week after a long absence with a hamstring injury.

Varcoe wasn't the only second-year forward to make an impressive contribution.

At the other end of the ground, Jarrod Harbrow also showed a lot of pluck in a bruising clash.

He struggled early, but the 2006 rookie draftee started making good use of his pace and became an important player for the 'Dogs.

Apart from his two goals - the Bulldogs' only two of the second half - the highlight of his night was when he had the gall to give Geelong's star full-back Matthew Scarlett a "don't argue" push with his hand on the wing.

Not only did Harbrow win the clash and keep running with the ball, but he sat Scarlett on his backside.

The problem for the Bulldogs was two-fold - not enough of their lesser lights followed Harbrow's lead and they missed a succession of shots at goal in the second half.

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