Geelong coach Chris Scott has admitted he doesn’t know how he will replace star midfielder Mitch Duncan for the remainder of the season as the Cats prepare to continue thier run against the competition heavyweights with a trip to Brisbane.
The superstar midfielder injured his knee in the first quarter early in the first quarter on Friday night against the Western Bulldogs with scans revealing Duncan had suffered a significant PCL injury which would sideline him till the start of the club’s impending finals campaign.
While health is on Geelong’s side and several players are capable of coming into the senior side to fill the void, the absence of one of his best players makes it hard for Scott to find an adequate replacement.
“I’ve always been a believer that it’s impossible to replace your best players like for like and Mitch is certainly in that category,” Scott told media on Tuesday.
Lachie Henderson will return for the Cats after pulling out of Friday nights game late while Tom Hawkins has overcome a minor neck issue and will also be right to play, the looming question for Scott and the match committee is choosing the right midfielder to fit into the mix in the absence of Duncan.
Shaun Higgins will come into the frame to regain his spot in the 22 after starting as the medical sub last week but young midfielder Jordan Clark will have to wait abit longer for a recall to the senior side with Scott saying as much as he’d love Clark in the senior team, there are a few ahead of him in the position of need.
“Jordan has been playing a little bit more midfield rather than back of recent times at VFL level” he said
“were keen to have him on the side at some point but right at the moment, he’s just a little bit behind some of the midfielders vying for that position”
“We haven’t decided exactly what it will do to us structurally without Mitch Duncan, Lachie Henderson comes back so that already changes us a little bit structurally”
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The Cats coach won’t be drawn on their most recent meetings with the Lions to engage whether or not his side could get the edge, despite winning their close game back in Round 2 and the meeting before that, the Preliminary Final at the Gabba.
With both sides firmly entrenched in the Premiership race, Scott said the experience of playing the contending teams in the middle of the season, as the Cats are now having played fellow top 8 sides Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs in recent weeks, big mid-season contests like this coming Thursday night presents a chance to tinker and prepare for when both sides meet later in the season.
“everyone’s trying to feel each other out this time of year” he said.
“We’re not convinced we’re going as well as we will be by the end of the season.
“But you have to find a way to win enough games to finish towards the top of the ladder to give yourselves the best chance.
“I think its some sort of measuring stick to play those teams in quick succession, but it’s far from a referendum on who is a better team because there are bigger fish to fry at the end of the year”
“Even now with the position that we’re in, we feel like we’re fighting and scrapping for those top spots, so there’s no room to pace yourself too much”
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