Ottens could return for Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ottens could return for Cats

18/08/2009 07:26:11 PM Comments (0)

Geelong are weighing up whether to punt on Brad Ottens returning to the AFL on Friday night against the Western Bulldogs to ready himself for the finals.

Ottens could be among a handful of key Cats returning to the litter after three games in the VFL since he injured a knee early in the season.

Half-forwards Paul Chapman and Max Rooke should also return from injury, along with defender Darren Milburn.

The pros and cons for recalling Ottens will dominate Geelong's match committee meeting on Wednesday, as the Cats decide whether the club's No.1 ruckman needs to play in the AFL before the finals and, if so, at what stage over the remaining two rounds.

Coach Mark Thompson admitted the Cats were running out of time with getting Ottens game time in the AFL before the finals began.

"That's the debate. Do we want him to play two games going into the finals or one game? Is it going to be better for him to be at AFL intensity so we can find whether he's going to be OK?" Thompson said on Tuesday.

"Personally I would like to see him play in the AFL before he played a final."

The decision on Ottens would also decide the fate of fellow ruck Mark Blake, whose game against Sydney last Saturday night was his first since round 15.

Thompson declared Chapman (hamstring), Rooke (knee) and Milburn (ankle) ready to return before adding midfielder James Kelly (hamstring) and half-back David Wojcinski (ankle) were also a chance.

He said forward Steve Johnson was also fine despite looking like he was labouring after recent hip soreness.

"He has played three games now and that is what we needed him to do, he had his month off and he's back settling into the intensity of playing and I think he's pulling up better every week," Thompson said.

"You shouldn't look at the way he runs to decide if he's fit or not, he's a bit of a crab."

Geelong will stay second regardless of Friday night's result at Etihad Stadium, but expect another titanic game against the Bulldogs, who are aiming to finish in the top four and pushed the Cats in a two-point loss in round nine.

The Cats' past three wins have also been by under a goal - they pipped Hawthorn by one point in round 17, Adelaide by two in round 18 and the Swans by five - but Thompson was confident those close games would hold the side in good stead come September.

"We don't choose it to be that way, it's just the way it's evolved, (but) I'm very confident and happy with the way the players have handled it," he said.

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