George Horlin-Smith is on the verge of successfully completing one of the toughest tasks in the AFL – forcing his way into the star-studded 2016 Geelong midfield.
Boom recruit Patrick Dangerfield and skipper Joel Selwood have hogged the headlines – and rightly so – as the Cats have powered to a 6-1 start to claim second spot on the ladder.
But the likes of Joel Caddy, Cam Guthrie, Steven Motlop, Mitch Duncan and Mark Blicavs have also been ever-present in the Geelong engine-room this year.
The 23-year-old Horlin-Smith has managed 39 senior games since making his debut back in 2012, but has been forced to bide his time in the VFL to start the season.
With Lincoln McCarthy under a cloud with an ankle injury, Horlin-Smith shapes as the next player in line for a recall if a spot opens up for Friday night’s huge clash away to Adelaide.
“It’s likely he will be in our squad this week and that he travels and is a very good chance to play,” coach Chris Scott said on Wednesday.
“That’s reward for really strong performances at the lower level.
“We’ve been keen to get George in for a long time.
“We’re not exactly sure whether we can do it right at the moment but if he’s not in our 22 he’s certainly the 23rd.”
Luckless ruck-forward Mitch Clark is making good progress in his recovery from a calf injury, with Scott expecting him back playing some time in June.
“It’s a bit hard to give complete clarity around when he will come back to play, but he’s back training and he’s looking good and he’s looking quite fit as well,” said Scott.
“That gives us confidence that when he’s cleared to play medically he’ll come back in and get some game-time pretty early.”