AFL stars push for finals inclusion - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL stars push for finals inclusion

By Sam Lienert 05/09/2011 07:12:07 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse is unsure whether to recall first-choice defenders Nick Maxwell, Heath Shaw and Leon Davis in one hit for the Magpies' opening AFL final.

Carlton, Geelong and West Coast also have major selection posers, as a list of big names who missed the last home-and-away round push for places.

Collingwood captain Maxwell (thumb), Davis (hamstring) and Shaw (suspension) will all be ready for Saturday's MCG clash with West Coast.

But Malthouse will make no guarantees, suggesting it could be a risk to load his defence with players lacking match fitness.

"A player like Heath Shaw. Does he play this week? If he doesn't, does he play the next week, whichever week it may be?" Malthouse said.

"Nick's been out for four (weeks), he's had good fitness up until then, he gets fit pretty quickly and stays fit, do we bring him in with Heath Shaw, both backline players?

"Leon Davis has had a hamstring injury. Does he recover in one week? So do we take the three in? They are the things we have to keep asking ourselves."

Minor injuries picked up by key forward Travis Cloke (knee) and tall defender Chris Tarrant (ankle) in Friday night's flogging from Geelong add to the Magpies' queries.

While both are expected to be available, neither trained on Monday.

"I'm not dismissing players who are injured, but if there is a doubt they'll get through a match, they won't play," Malthouse said.

West Coast are weighing up whether gun midfielder Daniel Kerr, one of nine premiership players on the Eagles' list, is ready to return after a two-game absence with a back injury.

Carlton have to decide whether to rush key forward Jarrad Waite (hip) back after a two-month absence to add marking power to an undersized attack for Sunday's sudden-death MCG clash with Essendon.

Key backman Michael Jamison is also under a cloud, having returned from a seven-week absence with a knee injury in round 22, before missing Saturday night's loss to St Kilda with soreness.

Star utility Bryce Gibbs said Waite could be the Blues' "X-factor", but expressed doubt about whether he was ready.

"I think Jamo's going to be fine, he'll be ready to go," Gibbs said.

"Waitey, I'm not too sure about. He'll do some more running and, hopefully, do some training this week."

Brighter news was that ruckman-forward Matthew Kreuzer should play against the Bombers, after a foot injury which forced him from the field on Saturday night was found to be less severe than feared.

While Hawthorn are expected to recall the eight star players they rested for their last home-and-away game, Friday night's qualifying final opponents Geelong are considering some inclusions of their own.

Veteran key forward Cameron Mooney is desperate for a recall into the Cats' attack.

Joel Corey, Tom Lonergan and Mathew Stokes are all likely to be available after injury absences, but spots will be hard to find given Friday night's 96-point thumping of Collingwood.

"It's a good position for the club to be in," coach Chris Scott said.

"We've always said we were trying to develop a big squad of players capable of playing finals footy and we think we're somewhere near that."

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