Key Crow in doubt to take on Cats

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - JON RALPH

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.

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