If Jimmy Bartel is to buck the odds and make it back into the Geelong lineup in time for Corey Enright’s 300th AFL game, he had better not be relying on his coach’s sentimental side.
Enright is scheduled to become only the third Cat after Ian Nankervis and Sam Newman to reach the celebrated milestone in the home match against Melbourne on June 14.
Bartel has made no secret of the fact that he desperately wants to help his three-time premiership teammate celebrate joining the 300 Club, despite not having played since picking up a knee injury against Gold Coast in mid-April.
But counting against Bartel is the fact that the Cats have a week off after the clash against the Demons.
“Obviously it will be a big game for the club and a big game for Boris (Enright),” coach Chris Scott said on Tuesday.
“But it’s our last game going into the bye and we’d be crazy to make decisions on sentimentality that might hurt us in the game and have a situation where we brought a player back for one game when he was going to have the next week off anyway.
“Our bias tends to be towards conservatism with injury.
“I understand why Jimmy would want to play, we love that about him, but that would be down our list of priorities.”
The Cats’ next challenge is a trip to Adelaide Oval on Friday night to take on a Power lineup who are building momentum with wins in their past two matches against Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.
Geelong are hopeful of regaining key talls Rhys Stanley and Mitch Clark to bolster a threadbare ruck division as they seek to turn around a poor recent road record which has seen them win just one of their past seven matches played outside Victoria.
Stanley is expected to return after overcoming a corked quad, while Clark has more work to do to convince the Cats’ medical staff he has fully recovered from a calf complaint.
“We think that Stanley is likely and Clark is a possibility,” said Scott.
“We’re not in a position to give guarantees at this stage but we’re more optimistic than we were at this stage last week.”