Geelong mull best 22 for AFL finals

Geelong coach Chris Scott has never had so many selection headaches at the pointy end of an AFL season.

The post-season bye means he has another week to mull the 22 players he will pick for next Friday’s MCG qualifying final against Hawthorn.

As Scott pointed out on Wednesday it’s not going to make it any easier, with the potential returns of Scott Selwood and Lachie Henderson headlining the big calls he must make.

The off-season arrival of Selwood, Henderson, Patrick Dangerfield and Zac Smith has significantly boosted the club’s depth.

Coupled with the return to fitness of a few long-term injury concerns, including Daniel Menzel, it means competition for places has never been so fierce.

“The big difference (compared to the past five seasons) … is we don’t have a big group of long-term injured players,” Scott said.

“Our footy club has persisted with guys that have missed a hell of a lot of footy, who are now available for the most part playing really well.

“It’s a challenge for the guys just outside the 22 at the moment but they’ve performed well at VFL level and get another chance to put their case forward this week in a VFL final.

“The ins to our team are pretty easy but the outs are much harder … it’s a good problem to have.”

Selwood is expected to return from a tight hamstring against the Hawks but Henderson will be racing the clock as he bids to prove his fitness.

Selwood missed the Cats’ final game of the regular season, while Henderson underwent knee surgery last week and was also sidelined for the 111-point win over Melbourne.

“We’ll have a much better indication (of Henderson’s chances of facing Hawthorn) when we train next week,” Scott said.

“The early signs are positive. Our initial outlook was that we were confident he would play some finals footy this year.

“If he doesn’t quite come up for the next game, we’re very confident he’ll be available for the next one.”

Scott and the club’s medical staff could wait until next Friday night before making a final call on Henderson.

“It’s possible. We’re not ruling anything out,” he said.

“So much depends on how he goes when he actually starts testing it out.”

The Cats lost just five games in the regular season, with all their recruits firing at different stages.

The addition of Brownlow medal favourite Dangerfield to their engine room has made life a lot more fun for captain Joel Selwood.

“We said at the start of the year there’s a lot of unknowns with what’s going to happen,” Selwood said.

“We actually didn’t know how the guys were going to fit into the football club.

“But they’ve managed so far to play some good footy.”

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