North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein is no certainty to return for the Kangaroos’ key AFL clash with Geelong on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.
Goldstein missed last week’s big win over Richmond in Hobart after copping a knock to his knee in the Roos’ loss to Sydney in the previous round.
Coach Brad Scott said the All Australian ruckman would need to prove his fitness at training this week to take his place in the highly anticipated encounter between ladder leaders North and the third-placed Cats.
“We’ll watch him really closely at training to make sure he’s 100 per cent,” Scott said on Wednesday.
“The rough estimate last week was that he was about 85 per cent but we won’t risk him unless he’s 100 per cent or extremely close to it.
“(His knee’s) structurally very sound – there’s absolutely no problem there.
“It’s more just pain and function; more function than pain.”
Majak Daw played his second game of the season in Goldstein’s place, with Scott to consider playing both ruckmen if Goldstein does return.
“I thought he was terrific,” Scott said of his stand-in ruckman.
“He plays a very different style of ruck to a lot of other ruckmen in the comp, so it’s another string to our bow.”
Scott didn’t make the trip to Hobart after falling ill on the way to the airport. He was admitted to hospital and was initially suspected to have contracted viral meningitis but was given the all-clear to return this week to the coach’s box.
Geelong will be without spearhead Tom Hawkins for the match after his controversial suspension for striking Greater Western Sydney’s Phil Davis.
“It clearly makes it a bit easier for us in terms of their personnel because he’s such a good player and he’s been really good against us in the past,” Scott said.
“But it does make them more unpredictable.
“We’ll just have to back our structure in and make sure that we’re prepared for anything they throw at us.”