FOUR debutants will appear in a Geelong Round 1 team for the first time since 1974 in Friday night’s blockbuster clash with Collingwood at the MCG.
Draftee Jordan Clark, second-year duo Gryan Miers and Charlie Constable, and rookie Tom Atkins will all pull on the Hoops at AFL level for the first time against last year’s runner-up.
Coach Chris Scott has told krockfootball.com.au the Cats are happy to take that many uncapped players into such an occasion.
“There’s clearly risk when it comes to inexperienced players, but we’ve been in that space for quite a few years,” he said.
“What I can say, is that we’re not picking young players for the sake of picking young players. We’ve picked the best twenty-two that we think will beat Collingwood on Friday night.
“They’ve all deserved their spot, they’ve all got slightly different stories.
“I guess there is some risk associated with bringing in four debutants and another couple of players (former Bulldog Luke Dahlhaus and ex-Swan Gary Rohan) that haven’t played within our system as well.
“But, I will say, by now, pretty used to rapid transition.”
Key defender Mark Blicavs says Clark has fitted like a hand into a glove in the Geelong defence.
“From the start, he’s knocked off all the pre-season, (and) has done everything that’s been asked of him,” Blicavs said.
“He had been training really well and consistently, but I thought from the West Coast game he just took it to another level.
“He was able to take them on (with) running bounces, he’s not afraid to try and take on the tackler and use his speed.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do this season.”
Geelong has preferred Mark Blicavs and Harry Taylor as its key defenders with Lachie Henderson to play in the Cats’ VFL practice match against Collingwood.
Cam Guthrie has been sidelined with calf tightness.
AFL ROUND 1
COLLINGWOOD vs. GEELONG
Friday, March 22, 7:50pm (AEDT)