Cats coach admits to missing Stokes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats coach admits to missing Stokes

29/04/2010 06:46:19 PM Comments (0)

Geelong coach Mark Thompson admits he'd love to fast-forward Mathew Stokes' return from AFL purgatory to this weekend's clash with Richmond.

Stokes escaped conviction this week on a charge of possessing cocaine and had a trafficking count dropped - clearing the way for him to resume his AFL career.

Only his club-imposed eight-week suspension stands in the way of an immediate return to the Cats' senior side.

A sparkling 41-possession match in the VFL thrust him into the frame for an immediate recall in a fortnight when the ban expires.

Thompson admitted to more than a pang of regret he couldn't bring Stokes into the side for Sunday's clash with Richmond at Skilled Stadium to bolster a team uncharacteristically beaten in two of their past three matches.

"We would love to have him play this week, let's be honest, so it has cost us a fair bit," Thompson said on Thursday.

"He really dominated last week's reserves game. Unfortunately we'd love to play him this week but we can't.

"He's always going to be back in if he's in good form. If he carries that form through from last week, then he'll be right to play (when his ban expires)." And when the small forward resumes for the premiers, Thompson is expecting Stokes to have matured as a person and a footballer.

"The whole incident's been hard for us - it's been embarrassing for the club and for Mathew," Thompson said.

"He's found it really difficult to face people, he's highly embarrassed.

"But the good thing from that is he's put his head down, worked really hard and you can see the steely resolve he has about him."

The Cats will also be without key defender Matthew Scarlett for the fourth consecutive match, while midfielder Joel Corey will again miss with a knee injury.

Thompson confirmed on Thursday Scarlett would again miss out with a back injury, after once more failing to prove his fitness.

But Thompson said he was confident the veteran defender would be a certain inclusion for Geelong's round seven clash with Sydney.

"He's not going to play this week. He'll sit out this one and probably be right for the following week," Thompson said.

"He's got a pretty tight back and he hasn't been able to do a lot of running early. Now we just don't want to put him in until he's 100 per cent right.

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