GEELONG is expecting Patrick Dangerfield to be right for Saturday’s twilight clash with Sydney at GMHBA Stadium.
The star midfielder missed the trip to the Gold Coast with an ankle injury suffered in the previous week’s win over the Western Bulldogs, having battled a knee issue in the weeks leading up to his most recent concern.
“We’re still not in a position to give a clear outlook on his availability, but it’s more optimistic than not,” coach Chris Scott said.
“I’m not really at liberty to outline the details around his injuries, and I say that specifically – injuries, plural.”
“But the likelihood is that he will be available; we just need to work out whether that’s the right thing for him and for us, longer term.”
Geelong isn’t only weighting the potential return of Dangerfield, with Scott Selwood, Jed Bews and Lachie Fogarty all moving into AFL calculations.
Selwood has played four games since returning from a hamstring injury, while Bews (osteitis pubis) and Fogarty (groin/hip) have successfully negotiated three matches.
However, Scott says it isn’t as simple as Fogarty replacing the suspended Gary Ablett.
“Our view is, that when we think it’s right for Lachie to play, he’ll force his way into the twenty-two, irrespective of availability,” he said.
“And we don’t think of him, necessarily, as a pure forward now, whereas we may have had more of that view last year.”
A decision on whether Esava Ratugolea returns after a fortnight on the sidelines also needs to be made.
If he does return, it’s likely to be at the expense of Darcy Fort, who made his debut against the Bulldogs and kept his spot for the win over the Suns.
“Darcy’s making it hard for me,” Scott admitted. “I’ve got to be careful because we love what Darcy’s doing, and he’s got a lot of AFL footy in front of him.
“But, I’ve said it publicly, so I can’t shy away from it now, and I haven’t changed my view, I really like Esava.
“But it doesn’t mean I like him more than some of the others.
“As is the case with a few of our VFL guys who have been putting together some good performances for a few weeks in-a-row, we think Esava is in the position now where he’s ready to come back and play close to his best.”
Quinton Narkle looks set to be sidelined with a recurrence of a hamstring injury suffered in the VFL Cats’ win over Coburg
However, Charlie Constable should be right to play despite suffering a knock to his groin.
Click the link to hear Chris Scott’s media conference in-full.