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

Ottens named to return for Cats

25/08/2009 06:14:39 PM Comments (0)

Geelong coach Mark Thompson is yet to decide who will lead the AFL club's ruck contingent against Fremantle on Saturday, but it will not be Brad Ottens.

While Thompson has confirmed Ottens - the club's premier big man - will play at Skilled Stadium in what will be his first senior match since injuring his knee in round two, it will be in a limited role.

"He obviously won't play the whole game and he won't be the number one ruckman," Thompson said on Tuesday.

"I think we have to be content that he's just going to come in and play a role as a secondary ruckman and maybe a bit of time forward."

But the Cats face a difficult decision on who will do the bulk of the ruckwork, with Mark Blake and Shane Mumford having shared the load in Ottens' absence.

While Mumford has played every match from round four onwards, Blake was dropped for rounds 16-19 as the Cats trialled a back-up plan of playing with one specialist ruckman.

But Blake, famously dropped for the 2007 grand final after playing every previous match that season, has impressed in his two games since returning to the side.

"We've got a bit of a selection headache," Thompson said.

He said Ottens was still battling the effects of the knee injury and was yet to reach full match fitness, despite having played four VFL games, but would play 60 to 70 per cent of the match.

While Thompson acknowledged it would have been a huge risk to bring Ottens back for the finals without playing in the regular season, he said they had not rushed him back.

"We weren't prepared just to chuck him straight back in and we almost had plan B and plan C in place," he said.

"With Brad coming in, he's more than earned his spot, he looked like he's ready to play after last weekend's (VFL) game, so we're playing him."

Meanwhile, captain Tom Harley will return from injury against the Dockers, while forward Steve Johnson is rated a 90 per cent chance to play despite still being affected by a hip problem.

James Kelly could also return, but Paul Chapman is likely to drop out after injuring his hamstring last round.

Thompson said it was important that the side was starting to come back together, but they needed to produce their best form ahead of the finals after some patchy recent performances.

"We just ask for an honest effort and that's what we haven't been delivering," Thompson said.

"If there was ever a time that you are going to do it, it would be this week, the week before the finals start."

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