New faces get chance to shine
February 22, 2023 / 8:30 pm
OFF-season acquisitions Jack Bowes, Tanner Bruhn and Ollie Henry will have the chance to impress Geelong’s coaching staff, with the trio to play a key role in the AFL section of Thursday’s practice match against Hawthorn.
Twenty-two days out from their season-opener, the Cats will play eight 30-minute periods against the Hawks, with players from both clubs’ AFL and VFL lists to see action.
However, it is early in the contest that Bowes (Gold Coast), Bruhn (GWS Giants) and Henry (Collingwood) will get a chance to shine.
Bowes and Bruhn will likely spend time in the midfield, while Henry can swing forward and back.
“It’s exciting to see where they’re at as individuals and how much they’ve picked up of how we play as a team,” assistant coach Shaun Grigg said.
“We understand it’s not going to be perfect – we don’t expect it to be.
“We’re looking forward to seeing what some of those guys can do.”
First-round draft pick Jhye Clark and incoming rookie quartet Osca Riccardi, Oscar Murdoch, Ted Clohesy and Irishman Oisin Mullin will also be sighted throughout the evening.
However, draftee Phoenix Foster (quad) won’t play.
Star forward Tom Hawkins and young bigs Shannon Neale and Toby Conway will be sidelined, while veteran duo Isaac Smith and Mitch Duncan will unlikely take the field.
“There’s always those conversations, particularly with our more experienced guys,” Grigg said.
“Those guys with a lot of footy behind them don’t necessarily need all the practice match minutes; they’re good with the individualised programs.”
Grigg says the reigning premier is keen, after a solid block of work since mid-January, to come up against an opponent.
“It’s only so far you can take it competing against each other when everyone knows what the other team is going to do,” he said.
“Our boys are in a pretty good position; they’ve got a good base of fitness behind them.
“They turned up in good shape, and they’re hungry to go.”
Geelong will follow the clash with the Hawks with a trip to Brisbane and a meeting with the Lions next Thursday.
The Cats open their premiership defence against preliminary finalist Collingwood at the MCG on March 17.
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Image: Patrick Dangerfield in action against Hawthorn last year. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)