GEELONG V BRISBANE MATCH PREVIEW
ROUND 3 2016: GEELONG CATS V BRISBANE LIONS
SO FAR IN 2016:
Geelong's opening match against bitter rivals Hawthorn saw the Cats
kick out to an early lead which was reeled in by the reigning premiers,
only to kick away again in the final quarter. The final margin of thirty
points perhaps did not do the match justice, for it was still in the
balance at the twenty minute mark of the fourth quarter. Patrick Dangerfield
amassed 43 disposals in what was a clear best on ground display, with
Josh Caddy, Darcy Lang and Zac Smith each contributing three goals.
Last week saw the Cats squander early scoring shots, their six opening
quarter chances yielding just a solitary goal. The Giants sat at around
four to six goals ahead for long stages of the match, Geelong often
struggling to transition the ball from defensive fifty into the midfield.
It seems coach Chris Scott is also yet to settle on his preferred forward
structure, the plethora of tall forwards at his disposal on occasion
seeming to clutter the forward 50.
THIS WEEK: Geelong fans will welcome the return of crafty forward Daniel Menzel, who has been named in the forward pocket. At the opposite end of the ground, 23 year old Tom Ruggles looks set to debut having been upgraded off the rookie list during the week. Ruggles impressed for Geelong's VFL side last season and again in the Nab Challenge, and will be looking to provide the rebound out of defence the Cats lacked last week. Nakia Cockatoo and George Horlin-Smith have been added to the extended squad, whilst struggling forward Shane Kersten has held his place. Mitch Duncan has been cleared to play following a brutal collision with Giant Shane Mumford last week. Jordan Murdoch is the only confirmed 'out' so far, with what was cited as soreness.
Brisbane have suffered a massive loss in captain Tom Rockliff, an injured calf expected to keep him out for the short-term. Compounding this is the continued absence of classy midfielder Dayne Beams, an ongoing knee problem keeping him on the sidelines. Fortunately for the Lions fellow prime ball-mover Daniel Rich, whose hamstring had put him under an injury-cloud, has been selected in the side. Rockliff's exclusion has seen four players added to the extended squad, with Mitch Robinson, Liam Dawson, Nick Robertson and Billy Evans all a chance to play. Ex-Cat Josh Walker has also been named to face his former side for the first time.
PREDICTION: Geelong should open their 2016 Kardinia Park account with a win over a struggling Brisbane, however the Lions effective forward line coupled with Geelong's questionable defence should ensure this clash is closer than it may appear. Without Rockliff or Beams and question marks over the fitness of Rich, arguably their best three players, it is hard to see the Lions opening their account this week. Geelong, in comparison, should be spurred by a disappointing loss last week, as well as the comfort of their home fans for the first time this season.