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West among Geelong inclusions

Sportal August 14, 2012, 2:54 pm
Trent West

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Geelong will offset the loss of ruckman Orren Stephenson, who has suffered a broken hand with the return of fellow big man Trent West from Friday's clash against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.

Stephenson broke his hand early in last Friday's narrow loss to West Coast and the 30-year-old is expected to miss at least a week and probably more having undergone surgery in the past few days.

Thankfully for the Cats it appears West, who played the first 17 games of the season before missing the past two with a knee injury, will be fit to return this week.

"We're very confident (he'll return) without guaranteeing it. There's still a little bit of training he needs to get through and few boxes he needs to tick but the signs are positive," coach Chris Scott said.

Scott paid tribute to Stephenson, who forced to battle with imposing Eagles pair Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui, having suffered the injury in the first quarter.

"Already severely impacted by a lack of ruck stocks, Orren broke his hand in the first quarter and it was a really courageous effort to play on," the coach said.

While that change seems a straightforward one for Scott, he faces a greater headache trying to work out who misses out on Friday given James Kelly, Paul Chapman, Josh Hunt and Joel Corey are all ready to return from injury, and Tom Hawkins set to play after being concussed last week.

Chapman is the most borderline of that experienced quintet having suffered a calf injury in the build-up to the Eagles match.

"He had a very minor calf injury and if it happened a little bit earlier in the week, we'd be extremely confident that he would play," Scott said.

"Training will be really important for him and the one thing we are really strong on is that unless we are absolutely sure he will be right than we won't risk him."

Several of the Cats youngsters - Geelong had seven players against the Eagles who had played fewer than 25 games - will be under pressure to retain their spots in the 22.

Adding to that pressure on those players is the prospect of the Cats regaining dual premiership midfielder Travis Varcoe in time for the finals.

Scott flagged that Varcoe will return to VFL this week before making his senior return in the Round 23 match against Sydney at Simonds Stadium.

Ruckman/forward Nathan Vardy will play his second game of VFL this week, while another ruckman Dawson Simpson could also resume in what looms as an important match against Coburg on Saturday.

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