GEELONG defender Max Rooke is likely to miss another week after being sidelined for precautionary reasons at half time in a VFL practice match during his comeback from knee tendonitis.
Meanwhile, Western Bulldogs veteran Nathan Eagleton is expected to bolster the squad for next week’s clash against Hawthorn after a dominant return from a hamstring injury in a VFL practice match for Williamstown.
There was a scare in the Bulldogs camp, however, with young ruckman Ayce Cordy coming off the ground in the third term clutching his shoulder which was heavily bandaged. It was later confirmed to be an arm injury.
Rooke, however, was nursing ice packs on his knee and ankle after the ailing hardman contested hard in the first half before sitting out the second half nursing ice packs on his knee and ankle.
Geelong VFL coach Dale Amos said the 28-year-old was more likely to return in round four against Port Adelaide.
“I would imagine to play 50 per cent of a VFL game and then to play AFL footy would be a big step,” Amos told The Sunday Age.
“It would be a hard and fast track when they play Fremantle over at Subi (next week) so I’d be surprised to see him play in the AFL next week.”
Rooke was solid in defence and provided some physical contests in which he is renowned for against Collingwood at Victoria Park.
“We only had him (to play) at about 50 per cent and he was feeling good at quarter time so we played him for the whole second quarter,” he said.
“He’ll play more game time next week and continue his preparation but his performance was really solid.”
Emergency for tomorrow’s clash against Hawthorn, James Podsiadly booted another four goals in the Cats’ 11 point win.
Steven Motlop, who is expected to make his AFL debut, David Wojcinski, Mark Blake and Mitch Duncan didn’t play in the match after being named on the interchange bench for the clash against the Hawks.
Injury-plagued Collingwood defender Sean Rusling got through unscathed in his first full game for more than a season as he aims to push for senior selection in the coming weeks.
“He played in the last line of defence and I just thought he was terrific,” Magpies VFL coach Gavin Brown said.
“His attack on the ball was really good, his ball use was fantastic. For the first time today he looked like a player with a lot of confidence and he looked like he really enjoyed it.”
“That was his first game at about 85 to 90 per cent game time and he was in the last line of defence. He probably needs a few games under his belt yet because he’s missed a lot of footy,” he said.
The Bulldogs’ Eagleton eased his way into the match for Williamstown before dominating in the second half against Coburg Tigers with 26 disposals and three centre clearances.
Bulldogs development coach and Williamstown coach Peter German said Eagleton put his hand up to play in next week’s blockbuster against the Hawks.
“We got what we wanted him to get out of the game; just the hard running and (we) got game time into him which was the key,” German said.
“He’s missed a little bit but it wouldn’t take much with Eagleton’s experience to get right for an AFL match so he’s put himself back in contention and it’s now up to the match committee.”
Josh Hill could be a late inclusion for today’s match against Richmond after not taking his place in the team.
Dylan Addison, Jarrad Grant and Jordan Roughead were in the better players for Williamstown.
Richmond’s Graham Polak struggled to get into the play for Coburg Tigers at full forward.
Polak kicked a late goal in the final term but Coburg coach David Newitt blamed his poor form on the lack of supply coming in.
“From a forwards point of view, you’d like your key forward to kick a couple of goals a game,” Newitt said.
“But it was a hard day for forwards today. It’s just a matter of getting some supply to him which we haven’t had for the last two weeks.”
Shane Tuck was impressive in a defensive role, while young forward David Astbury received an ankle injury.
North Melbourne forwards Aaron Edwards and Josh Smith put their hands up for a senior call after dominating up forward for North Ballarat yesterday.
Edwards took 10 marks, 20 possessions and a goal while Smith gathered 15 disposals, six marks and kicked 3.2
Leigh Harding also kicked two goals in the Roosters comfortable win over Frankston.
Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald also said North Melbourne’s prized draft pick Ben Cunnington was impressive with 20-plus disposals in his push for a senior debut.
“I can only assess in him on his attitude here and he wants to play, he wants to listen and he wants to learn,” Fitzgerald said.
By Brent Diamond