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Sanderson: Thompson will be fine

Sportal July 28, 2012, 7:45 pm
Brenton Sanderson

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Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson said he would be disappointed if key midfielder Scott Thompson was suspended for his first-quarter hit on Steve Johnson in Geelong's 27-point win over the Crows.

Johnson lasted just five seconds of the clash at Simonds Stadium on Saturday before being ironed out by Thompson at the first bounce while attempting to take possession of the ball.

The incident was the key talking point of the game as the mercurial Johnson was concussed from the hit and subsequently substituted from the field mid-way through the opening quarter.

With the AFL taking a dim view of head-high hits which leave players injured, it looks likely Thompson could face several weeks on the sidelines, especially as the Crows midfielder also appeared to raise his left arm before making contact with Johnson's head.

However, Sanderson remained optimistic Thompson - who produced another sterling 39-possession display on Saturday - would remain available for all of the upcoming clashes with Essendon, Fremantle, Brisbane, Melbourne and Gold Coast heading into the finals.

"I'd be disappointed if he got rubbed out," Sanderson said.

"I think he'll be fine though.

"(But) I'll have to go back and have a look at it.

"I noticed he (Thompson) was pushed into him (Johnson) but I'm not sure," said Sanderson, referring to the fact Joel Corey made slight contact with Thompson in the seconds before the hit.

"I'll have to look at it."

Geelong coach Chris Scott said it was also difficult to comment on the incident.

"I was talking to the assistant coaches post game about whether they thought there was anything untoward, (but) they're not really sure either," Scott said.

"It was the 10-second mark of the game and while there was a little bit of a delay, I used my time in a manner that I thought was more considered than watching the replay."

Scott said he fully backed his medical staff's decision to substitute Johnson.

"When we subbed him - I think that was the five, seven-minute mark - so the doctors, we always take our time with that, but I think on reflection they were pretty adamant right away (that he couldn't return)," Scott said.

"But it's important they do their due diligence and make sure.

"They weren't convinced that he was a 100 percent capable to take the field given the knock to his head, but in terms of structural damage, he's fine.

"So he's got a bit of a cut lip, but there's no bone damage, nothing with his teeth, it was just that they couldn't be convinced that he had all his faculties."

Scott said the club would leave it as late as possible to make a call on Johnson's availability for next Friday's blockbuster clash with Hawthorn, but the coach ruled out Corey after the 250-game milestone man injured his hamstring during the second term.

Corey's 18 possessions during the first half went a good way toward Geelong leading by 33 points at half-time.

And, while they were forced to weather an Adelaide surge that saw the Crows close to within two points, the Cats ultimately finished strongly with a late burst.

"The subs rule is fantastic if you lose one player, it's diabolical if you lose two," Scott said.

"So that put us under a little bit of pressure at half-time ... and while I think that helped a little bit, the bottom line is the players just have to fight and when we were challenged kicking into the wind late in the third quarter, I thought the boys really stood up."

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