Opposition analysis: Cats regain Ablett

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Gary Ablett is back after recovering from a hamstring injury

Presenting all you need to know about the Cats ahead of the big Sunday afternoon clash at the MCG

Recent Form
Geelong has had an inconsistent season to date, defeating Melbourne, St Kilda, Port Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney but losing to Hawthorn, West Coast and the Sydney Swans. However, the Cats were back to their best against the Giants last weekend, running out 61-point winners while holding Leon Cameron’s side to its second-lowest score.

What they’re saying
“We are all looking forward to [having him back]. He’s quite positive about resuming because he has missed a bit of footy now this season,” Knights said. “Gary will be able to come into the midfield group and play his part. We don’t expect more than that, any more than the game-time or the minutes the other mids are playing. We will talk about [how he is managed] as the week goes on and decide what action and plan we have for Gary. But I guess these days when you’re selected in the 22, you are going to have to play up around the 70 to 80 per cent midfield time anyway.” – Geelong assistant coach Matthew Knights on the plan for Gary Ablett in his first game since round three (from a story published in the Geelong Advertiser)

Gary Ablett in action the last time he played against Collingwood at the MCG. This was in 2012 when he finished with 53 disposals (AFL Photos)

Injury/suspension list
Geelong’s big loss this week was Tom Hawkins, who copped a one-match suspension for umpire contact. The Cats will also missing Brandan Parfitt (foot), Cameron Guthrie (ankle) and Nakia Cockatoo (knee).

Players to watch
All eyes will be on Ablett, but young defender Jack Henry is another player to keep an eye on. Henry has stepped up in a big way this season and his good form earned him this week’s nomination for the Rising Star award. Mature-age recruit Tim Kelly has been another eye-catcher for the Cats. His form in the midfield has been sensational and he was once again among their best players against the Giants last weekend, finishing the game 30 disposals.

Last time: Round 22, 2017 at the MCG
Match report excerpt: GEELONG was not at its best, was missing some of its key players and probably has half an eye on the finals, but none of that stopped the Cats from beating Collingwood on Saturday, and in the process sealing their place in the top-four.

A defeat to the Magpies would have put the Cats’ hold on a top-four position in real jeopardy with next week’s clash with Greater Western Sydney on the horizon. And there were some shaky moments, particularly as the Magpies held a three-point lead over the Cats at the midway point of the final term.

But with Patrick Dangerfield piecing together another brilliant best-on-ground display, Geelong flexed its muscles to win by 11 points, running out 10.10 (70) to 9.5 (59) victors.

COLLINGWOOD  6.1   7.2   9.4   9.5 (59)
GEELONG            2.2   6.5   8.6   10.10 (70)

GOALS
Collingwood: Cox 2, Hoskin-Elliott 2, Broomhead 2, Moore, Sidebottom, Blair
Geelong: Dangerfield 2, Murdoch 2, Menegola 2, Parsons, Buzza, Bews, Taylor 

BEST 
Collingwood: Adams, Howe, Cox, Moore, Scharenberg, Hoskin-Elliott
Geelong: Dangerfield, Menegola, Duncan, Tuohy, Stewart, C.Guthrie 

INJURIES 
Collingwood: Adams (head)
Geelong: Nil 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Nicholls, Harris, Jeffery

Official crowd: 47,889 at the MCG

Source: Collingwood FC’s website

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