Geelong captain Joel Selwood will miss Friday night’s blockbuster against Richmond at Metricon Stadium, while speedster Nakia Cockatoo has been ruled out for the rest of the AFL season with a wrist injury.
Selwood has missed the past three games with a knee injury and coach Chris Scott said the club was taking a cautious approach with the 32-year-old.
The 305-game veteran was sidelined earlier this year with a hamstring strain, but Scott is confident Selwood will be in top shape in time for the club’s finals campaign.
“He’s been managing issues over the last couple of years actually,” Scott said of Selwood, who is slated to return in next week’s match against Sydney.
“Last year we played him when in retrospect we probably shouldn’t have. So we’re doubling down on our decision this year to be conservative.
“There’s no doubt in my mind (he’ll be ready for finals), there’s no doubt in his mind. He’s training really well. We think it’s a chance for him to get extra sessions in.
“He’s training unencumbered, he has been for some time. We’ve got a plan that we think is going to leave him best placed to play really well in the finals series. I guess the proof will be in the pudding.”
Cockatoo has been ravaged by soft tissue injuries in recent years, with his last AFL appearance coming in round three, 2018.
Scott revealed the 23-year-old will require surgery on a wrist injury he picked up in a recent practice match.
“It was an acute injury that allowed him to play through it for a period of time but it was always clear it was going to require surgery at the end of the season,” Scott said.
“It just developed to the point where we don’t feel comfortable with him continuing to try to play through it.”
Cockatoo will return to Melbourne to undergo surgery and be with his pregnant partner.
Friday’s match is set to play a huge role in the make-up of the top four.
Geelong’s six-match winning run has seen them rocket into third spot with an 11-4 record, while Richmond are half a game further back in fourth.
The Cats regained Zach Tuohy and Esava Ratugolea, but Rhys Stanley (groin) and Jack Steven (jaw) failed to prove their fitness.
Former Crow Josh Jenkins and Zach Guthrie were axed.
Richmond dropped dual premiership defender Nathan Broad, along with Jack Higgins and Thomson Dow.
Dylan Grimes (hamstring) and Kane Lambert (hip) return, with young midfielder Jack Ross the other inclusion.