AFL NAB Cup Live Carlton Blues vs Geelong Cats Stream AFL Pre Seasons NAB Challenge match will be kick off at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday 21 March 2015 online, 16.10pm (AEDT) and its broadcast on Foxtell.
Geelong Cats will step up a gear in tomorrow’s NAB Challenge match against Carlton, declaring the game a full dress rehearsal for Round 1.
The Cats will finalise their team at this morning’s training run, determined to field the strongest available side for their final practice match.
Steve Johnson, who has recovered from a corked thigh he copped during last week’s VFL game, is a confirmed starter, but Hamish McIntosh is not yet over the line. “We’ve worked towards this (a full dress rehearsal) right through the pre-season,” Geelong football manager Steve Hocking said last night.
“It’s obviously the final hit-out for the group. We’re working towards Round 1 and the first month of the main season.”
The Cats are acutely aware of the need to have their players match-hardened for the start of the season, with tough matches against Hawthorn and Fremantle to open proceedings.
Hocking said Johnson had recovered well from the blow that forced him off the ground last week.
Steve Johnson. Photo: MICHAEL KLEIN
“We’ll just keep an eye on him,” he said.
“We’ve obviously got subs we can use and we’ll just make some decisions as to how players are performing during the game and what their loads look like.
“It’s hard to say ‘he’ll play 70 per cent, or 80 or 90’ because it all comes back to the kilometres covered, their top-end speed, things like that.”
Meanwhile, Geelong’s VFL team is in action at noon today against Richmond at Simonds Stadium.
The Cats named an extended VFL squad late yesterday, listing McIntosh, Dawson Simpson, Jordan Murdoch, Josh Cowan and Jed Bews, who are also in the extended AFL squad.
Rhys Stanley, who has not been spotted yet this pre-season, faces a race to be fit for Round 1, but the Cats have not given up all hope.
Carlton Blues decided on a no-risk policy with Yarran and the rebounding backman didn’t join the Blues’ training at Princes Park on Saturday.
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Captain Marc Murphy and forward Dale Thomas are ready for their first match hitouts against the Cats at Simonds Stadium.
Midfield ace Bryce Gibbs might have wished the Blues hadn’t taken a cautious approach to his minor shoulder injury.
Gibbs, rested for the game against the Cats, endured a punishing extra workout at the end of training.
The 2014 best-and-fairest winner, accompanied by young forward Jayden Foster and midfielder Mark Whiley, spent 20 minutes driving themselves through a series of 100m runs at three-quarter pace with only a few seconds to catch their breath at the end of each run-through.
The fatigued trio looked like they had played a full game when they dragged leaden legs up the steps to rejoin teammates inside their headquarters.
Carlton Blues: 2. Troy Menzel, 3. Marc Murphy, 5. Chris Judd, 7. Dylan Buckley, 9. Patrick Cripps, 10. Matthew Watson, 12. Blaine Boekhorst, 13. Chris Yarran, 14. Liam Jones, 15. Sam Docherty, 17. Sam Rowe, 18. Kristian Jaksch, 22. Jason Tutt, 23. Lachie Henderson, 25. Clem Smith, 27. Dennis Armfield, 28. Tom Bell, 31. Matthew Dick, 33. Andrejs Everitt, 35. Ed Curnow, 36. Cameron Wood, 38. Ciaran Byrne, 39. Dale Thomas, 40. Michael Jamison, 42. Zach Tuohy, 43. Simon White, 44. Andrew Carrazzo
Geelong Cats: 3. Jimmy Bartel, 4. Andrew Mackie, 5. Nakia Cockatoo, 7. Harry Taylor, 9. James Kelly, 11. Darcy Lang, 13. Tom Lonergan, 14. Joel Selwood, 16. Dawson Simpson, 17. Hamish McIntosh, 18. Josh Cowan, 19. Mitch Clark, 20. Steve Johnson, 21. Jordan Murdoch, 22. Mitch Duncan, 23. Josh Caddy, 24. Jed Bews, 25. Jared Rivers, 26. Tom Hawkins, 27. Mathew Stokes, 28. Cory Gregson, 29. Cameron Guthrie, 32. Steven Motlop, 33. George Horlin-Smith, 39. Shane Kersten, 44. Corey Enright, 46. Mark Blicavs