VFL Preview – Round 17

Updated: August 6, 2015
Geelong rookie Zac Bates speed will be a factor in the Cats' VFL clash with North Ballarat on Sunday. Picture: ARJ GIESE


Geelong rookie Zac Bates speed will be a factor in the Cats' VFL clash with North Ballarat on Sunday. Picture: ARJ GIESE

Geelong rookie Zac Bates speed will be a factor in the Cats’ VFL clash with North Ballarat on Sunday. Picture: ARJ GIESE

WHAT a contrast a couple of months has made to Geelong’s VFL side.

When the Cats met North Ballarat at Simonds Stadium earlier in the season they fielded just four AFL-listed players in their nine-point victory.

Geelong has 15 AFL-listed players named in its squad for the return clash against the Roosters at Ballarat’s Eureka Stadium this Sunday.

Dashing defender Jed Bews returns after being rested last round while utility Billie Smedts is back after a two-week stint in the Cats’ AFL side. Big man Tom Read has recovered from illness and been named on an extended bench.

Sam Blease will again miss with concussion while two impressive performances has earned veteran Mathew Stokes a recall to the AFL team.


Geelong remains an outside chance of a top eight finish and will face a North Ballarat team coming off two dominant performances in recent weeks.

Cats coach Paul Hood is not worried about looking at ladder positions or likely scenarios, instead focusing on ensuring his team continues to play the way he wants them to play.

“The pleasing thing was we played a good, solid four quarters at Frankston last week so we need to back that up this round,” Hood said.

The form of VFL-listed player Tom Ruggles, Kieren Paliouras, Brenton Rees and recruit Matthew Farrelly has been encouraging for the Cats.

Co-captain Ryan Williams remains sidelined with a fractured toe and is facing a race against time to play VFL again this season.

Geelong will finalise its side on Sunday morning. With the TAC Cup having a bye this weekend, Bendigo Pioneer Tom Cole will play his second game with the Cats as their 23rd man.

Meanwhile, Werribee, buoyed by consecutive wins against fellow top eight sides, travel to Windy Hill this Sunday to take on the fifth-placed Essendon.

Tigers’ coach John Lamont said their final three games of the regular season, starting against the Bombers, is an opportunity for them to show they’re not just making up the numbers heading into the finals.

“We don’t want to be a team that just ends up finishing eighth,” Lamont declared.

“At the end of the day you’d take that, but we want to be having a real crack at it (finals) and that means taking on the challenge of having to go to Casey (last round) and winning, and this week going to Essendon and then to Williamstown to win and beating Footscray in the last round.

“For the first time at Werribee I’ve come away from looking at one week at a time and we’ve spoken about the bigger picture.”

Werribee defender Jake Wilson was rewarded for his excellent season with an invitation to attend Victoria’s AFL State Combine in October.

He’s one of six VFL players that will trial in front of recruiters.

Defender Lachlan Hansen and big man Majak Daw have been named in North Melbourne’s extended squad for Sunday’s match against Melbourne, which will be finalised tomorrow afternoon.

Geelong Falcons’ Will Sexton will line-up as Werribee’s 23rd man against the Bombers

Twitter: @GreenBradley

Essendon (5th) vs. Werribee (6th) @ Windy Hill, Sunday 12.00pm


B Sherlock Wilson Sodomaco
HB McDonald McMahon Laracy
C Fordham Hanson Gibson
HF Munro Porter Crichton
F Speight Wood Turner
R Daw Harper Conway
Int Norris O’Shea Brett
Sexton* Wales Robinson
Wallace Hussey Holman
Wales Reid Maishman

North Ballarat (12th) vs. Geelong (10th) @ Eureka Stadium, Sunday 1.30pm


B Cunico Robinson Ruggles
HB Bews Rivers Jansen
C Gore Smedts Menzel
HF Luxford Lucey Sheringham
F Bates Vardy Paliouras
R Simpson Horlin-Smith Cowan
Int Tudor Maas Cole*
Read Farrelly Atkins
Dixon Rees Haintz

Bendigo Bank