Key Crow in doubt to take on Cats
GEELONG’S chances of toppling premiership favourite Adelaide have surged as the Crows admitted emerging star Mitch McGovern was battling hamstring soreness.
McGovern came off the ground in a Saturday match simulation session.
The newly signed forward has been on a hot streak with 14 goals in his past six matches, but pulled up sore and is awaiting scan results.
The Crows had been desperate to replicate match conditions in a full-blown practice match with SANFL umpires but the decision may have backfired.
Geelong’s Tom Stewart was cleared of structural damage to his tight hamstring.
Stewart came off as a precaution in the Cats’ upset win over Sydney but the club had hoped his hamstring was only tight, not torn.
The confirmation came yesterday, with Stewart one of the contenders, along with Zach Tuohy, to take on goalsneak Eddie Betts.
The Cats are hopeful he will get through a midweek session and prove his fitness for the Friday night encounter.
Adelaide confirmed McGovern’s issue yesterday, saying he would “undergo further medical investigation” after reporting the soreness to club doctors.
The Crows have been on the Gold Coast and had hoped to make only one change — Rory Sloane (appendix) back in for Brodie Smith (ACL).
They played a scratch match on Saturday as they sought to replicate match conditions on their spare weekend.
But McGovern has pulled up sore on the other leg to the hamstring that required 10 weeks of rest mid-season for tendon damage.
The positive in that scratch match was the form of Sloane, who played well only six days ahead of the preliminary final.
The Crows have a 15-day break going into the preliminary final, having played only one game in the fortnight before their qualifying final.
Fitness boss Brett Burton said yesterday Sloane came through that session well.
“He trained fully and got through no worries. He is looking forward to the week ahead,” Burton said.
“With a bye this weekend we needed to replicate the intensity and movement (of a match) in preparation for our game on Friday.
“Physically and mentally and game strategy-wise, you try to replicate what you’re going to get in a game.”
Geelong’s Cam Guthrie looks less likely to take on Adelaide, described by the club as “day by day”.
Powerful midfielder Nakia Cockatoo continues to push for selection but has played only one game since Round 13 and would be a considerably risky selection.
The Cats say Tom Lonergan will be fit to take on Adelaide after recovering from food poisoning that had him vomiting all of Friday.
His captain Joel Selwood said the issue was a dodgy sausage roll but his wife was also sick and is a vegetarian.