Geelong duo in doubt for Lions clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Geelong duo in doubt for Lions clash

07/07/2009 06:34:07 PM Comments (0)

Mentally there won't be a letdown, but Geelong coach Mark Thompson can't promise the same about the physical state of his players after Sunday's AFL loss to St Kilda.

The Cats are still counting the cost of the bruising contest, with Harry Taylor (concussion), Darren Milburn (ankle) and Cameron Ling (knee tendonitis) in doubt to play the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night.

After missing the St Kilda match, forward Steve Johnson (hip) is also no guarantee to return.

Add to that the fact many Geelong players are still sore and won't resume running until Wednesday, it is little wonder Thompson sees a trip to the Gabba as a stern test to follow the much-hyped clash with the Saints.

But he was confident the players would not experience a sense of letdown following a game that was built up as a grand final.

"We've met a lot of challenges over the last couple of years and the challenge is to get over that (St Kilda) game and let it go and move forward and make sure we play well against Brisbane," Thompson said on Tuesday.

"That's a pretty hard challenge considering the game we had, it's a six-day recovery and the travel factor. It's a big challenge."

Geelong will wait until Friday before making a call on Taylor, who was knocked out at the end of the game when St Kilda's Michael Gardiner crashed into him during his decisive mark.

The Cats are also determined not to risk Johnson, who pulled out of last Sunday's clash with hip soreness, given his importance to the forward line.

"He trained Friday and he ran this morning, so he's not serious, serious, serious," Thompson said.

"But we just want to make sure he's right to go and we're not playing with any risk of it developing into anything (worse)."

Geelong's other injury frustration is the recovery of ruck-forward Brad Ottens, who is still at least a fortnight away from returning from the knee strain he suffered in round two.

Ottens' injury was initially considered a two-week absence, but Thompson said his recovery had stagnated and the best-case scenario was him playing a month out from the finals.

"He has hit a bit of a wall and he can't improve," Thompson said.

"He's been running and doing everything, but we need him to keep improving, but he's not, so we can't progress him too much more until he gets a bit stronger in some of the exercises we've been trying to do."

Ottens' presence would help strengthen the two areas where the Cats struggled against the Saints, as key forward Tom Hawkins and ruck Mark Blake both had little impact.

Thompson was disappointed the two youngsters had been made scapegoats for the defeat and insisted he would keep playing them, although he conceded they need to apply more defensive pressure on opponents when struggling to have an impact.

"We're a really team-focused club, so if things aren't working out for you and you're not kicking all the goals or taking great marks or having great influence, then you can still contribute and that's probably where they failed," Thompson said.

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