Geelong coach lashes medical criticism

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Geelong coach Chris Scott has accused high-profile sports medico Dr Peter Larkins of "throwing haymakers from the cheap seats", launching a fierce defence of his AFL club's handling of Tom Stewart's foot injury.

The Cats remain hopeful Stewart could return from a lisfranc ligament injury to play in the grand final, should they beat Melbourne in Friday night's preliminary final.

The All Australian underwent surgery to repair the damage last month, with Larkins this week claiming it is "unrealistic" to expect Stewart to play again this season.

Larkins wrote on Twitter he thinks the Cats are "delusional" in believing Stewart could recover in time, but Scott hit back during his regular mid-week media conference on Wednesday.

"We're confident that we have the very best people in Australia, certainly, but maybe even the world, that are across this," Scott said.

"So someone in the medical profession who hasn't had the opportunity to look at the situation in detail throwing haymakers like that from the cheap seats, I think, is highly unprofessional.

"But maybe he (Larkins) doesn't consider his role in the game now to be one of a medical professional first.

"Maybe he's an entertainer, so I take it in the context of that."

Stewart has not played since round 21 and would have a limited preparation if he was cleared for the grand final.

But the defender would have the benefit of an extra week, with the grand final combatants to have a bye between their preliminary finals and the season decider this year.

"Tom is on a program that was laid out by the very best medical experts and anyone that questions that, especially when they're a level below that expertise, doesn't really know what they're talking about," Scott said.

"He's following a plan that was laid out right from the start and he just keeps ticking off those days, so that's the process we're going to work through.

"If he makes it, he makes and if he doesn't, he doesn't.

"There's not going to be much room for grey there - it's going to be a really binary decision."

Geelong will have to replace Brandan Parfitt for the clash against the Demons at Optus Stadium after he suffered a serious hamstring injury during last week's win over GWS.

Mitch Duncan is a chance to play more midfield minutes after a strong return form a knee injury against the Giants, while Scott said ruck-forward Esava Ratugolea is "likely" to retain his spot in attack.

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