Chapman flies through Cats training - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Chapman flies through Cats training

24/09/2008 07:18:19 PM Comments (0)

Under a fleet of hovering helicopters which would have done Apocalypse Now justice, Geelong forward Paul Chapman effectively booked his AFL grand final place.

Chapman successfully completed a closed training session at Skilled Stadium to prove his troublesome hamstring had healed in time to take on Hawthorn on Saturday at the MCG.

As the Cats attempted to lock out media from the closed session, cameramen climbed trees and perched on top of cars to get suitable vantage points - most of which had been blocked by fencing or strategically parked vehicles inside Geelong's home ground.

The three commercial television networks went a step further, taking to the skies in choppers to spy on Chapman's progress.

All that was missing was Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries - the music from the war film Apocalypse Now's famous helicopter scene - as the realisation of Chapman's grand final dream spelled destruction for one of his teammates.

All indications from above were Chapman trained fully and freely and is likely to be selected in the Cats' 22 when the team is named on Thursday night.

But that will mean a Cats player must be dropped, with defender David Wojcinski or forwards Tom Lonergan and Mathew Stokes believed most at risk.

It echoes the Cats' build-up to last year's grand final, in which ruckman Mark Blake experienced the ultimate selection heartache as Geelong plumped for the experienced Steven King.

Cats coach Mark Thompson has said the player in the gun already suspected his grand final number would be up if Chapman successfully completed training.

But Geelong won't name the axed player publicly until the grand final teams are named on Thursday night.

"I don't know who it is - I couldn't tell you," Geelong defender Darren Milburn said when asked if he knew who might miss out this time around.

"I couldn't see the person wanting to leave the club for missing a grand final.

"Whoever it is, the club will get behind them and they will be eager to get back in the team next year like Blake has this year.

"(Blake) has been amazing. He has really pushed on and he has earned his spot in the team."

Chapman injured his hamstring early in the qualifying final win over St Kilda three weeks ago, but has a long-running history of soft tissue injuries.

He has missed six games this season, including last weekend's preliminary final win over the Western Bulldogs and a three-week stretch between rounds 18 and 20 with a hamstring complaint.

Hawthorn are also wrestling with a selection dilemma over which of their back-up ruckmen to leave out - young incumbent Brent Renouf or the man who has played most of the Hawks' matches this season, Simon Taylor.

Both Geelong and Hawthorn will hold their final training hitouts on Thursday - both sessions open to fans.

A huge roll-up is expected for the Hawks' session ahead of their first grand final in 17 years.

Milburn said the Cats' preparation had been going well, and all involved were just as confident as they were going into their grand final obliteration of Port Adelaide last year.

"We've been playing some pretty good football. There's no reason why we shouldn't go into the game confident," Milburn said.

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