Cats could lose three for Wizard final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats could lose three for Wizard final

By Chris Lines 08/03/2004 07:16:33 PM Comments (0)

Geelong could be forced to make three changes to its side as it aims to snap a silverware shortage in Saturday's AFL Wizard Cup grand final.

The Cats have lost ruckman David Loats to a knee injury, while James Bartel and rookie Shannon Byrnes could also exit the team that beat Melbourne in a semi-final thriller.

Bartel will face the tribunal on Tuesday night on the unusual charge of attempting to trip Melbourne's James McDonald.

As a rookie, Byrnes' absence would not normally be considered notable, but the teenager from Shepparton had impressed in the pre-season campaign.

Geelong will attempt to patch over the absence of Loats in Saturday's final by tag-teaming back-ups Paul Chambers and Henry Playfair.

But in the longer term it was a body blow for the Cats, with number one ruckman Steven King already sidelined with an Achilles tendon problem.

The Cats are bidding to win their first silverware since the 1963 premiership, but are at long odds to upset a St Kilda side that saw off more accomplished opponents en route to the final.

The Saints came out of their semi-final win over Essendon unscathed and may be strengthened by the return of Justin Koschitzke from a hamstring injury.

Saints coach Grant Thomas felt the stars were aligning to favour his team in 2004.

"Their bodies are coming together at the same time as their experience is coming together, at the same time as they're able to realise their talents and skills and if we get the combination right we're sure we'll be really competitive," Thomas said.

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