VFL Preview – Round 18

Updated: August 12, 2015
Zac Bates prepares to mark in Geelong's VFL loss to North Ballarat last week. Picture: ARJ GIESE
Zac Bates prepares to mark in Geelong's VFL loss to North Ballarat last week. Picture: ARJ GIESE

Zac Bates prepares to mark in Geelong’s VFL loss to North Ballarat last week. Picture: ARJ GIESE

THEY might be out of the running for a VFL finals berth, but Geelong coach Paul Hood has declared that the Cats last three matches still carry plenty of importance.

The Cats take on top side the Box Hill Hawks at Simonds Stadium on Saturday morning as part of a double header featuring the Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup.

For the players on the fringe of the AFL side, continuing to perform consistently will ensure they remain in contention for a possible call-up, while the VFL-listed players have an eye on 2016.

“There can’t be any dead rubbers for us,” Hood said.

“Our guys have to go out there and try and improve themselves as footballers every time they play. Our attitude as a footy club is every time they go out and play, they should have something to play for.

“There’s still some big games, important games, for us. Guys want to finish the year strongly and, for a young aspiring player, the closest thing you can get to playing an AFL game is playing the best VFL team on an AFL ground which we’re doing this week.

“There’s no doubt that they’ll need to rise to a challenge.”

The Cats have regained prolific ball-winner George Horlin-Smith from the AFL side, Michael Luxford and Irish recruit Padraig Lucey who both missed last week, and highly-rated Geelong Falcons midfielder Rhys Mathieson will play as their 23rd man.

Sam Blease (concussion) remains sidelined.

Rookie-listed defender Cam Delaney will make his first appearance for the Cats after recovering from a toe problem.

Hood was Delaney’s coach at the Falcons in 2010, the year he was drafted by North Melbourne, and is pleased to see the 23-year-old get an opportunity in the last month.

“His training form, albeit brief, has been pretty solid,” Hood said of Delaney.

“People shouldn’t expect too much of him in his first hit-out because he’s missed a lot of footy and the other guys are much further advanced than Cam.

“But we just want him to get through the game and show he can play a couple of games in a row at the end of the year and give himself a chance to build for his future.”

Hood also revealed the playing group had taken responsibility for their disappointing loss to North Ballarat last Sunday.

“The boys are pretty clear on the areas they want to improve on and they’re going to tell the coaches those things tomorrow (Friday),” Hood said.

“So it’s an opportunity for them to go out and back up their words with actions.”

Werribee has the bye this weekend but the fifth-placed Tigers will be keeping a close eye on the results from the sides challenging with them for a top four spot.

Twitter: @GreenBradley

Geelong (11th ) vs. Box Hill (1st) @ Simonds Stadium, Saturday 11.00am


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

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