More AFL grand final selection heartbreak looms at Geelong as Paul Chapman tries to force his way back into the side.

Coach Mark Thompson took the unusual step after Friday night’s preliminary final win over the Western Bulldogs to strongly endorse second-year player Travis Varcoe.

Before Friday night’s game, Varcoe would have been the obvious choice to make way for Chapman, who missed with a hamstring injury.

But Thompson made it clear that Varcoe’s excellent performance against the Bulldogs had shored up his place in the team.

“Travis won’t go out. Travis wouldn’t be considered, so we’ll state publicly if he stays fit and doesn’t get a virus he’ll play next week,” Thompson said.

“But again, every year, every club, whoever we play they’ll probably have some tough decisions to make at the selection table too and that’s a good position to be in, as hard as it is.”

Thompson also said he was pleased with the performances of James Kelly and David Wojcinski, who returned to the side for Chapman and Brent Prismall (knee reconstruction).

So either Chapman will not recover in time for the grand final, or the Cats will make a massive selection call in order to recall him.

Last year, young ruckman Mark Blake was a controversial omission from the grand final team for Steven King.

Thompson on Friday night described Chapman as “90 per cent fit”, while team-mate Cameron Mooney made it clear on Saturday morning that he expects the hard-working forward to be available.

“There is going to be a hard luck story because Chappy will obviously come in, so it will be disappointing for someone,” Mooney said.

“We went through it last year with Blakey and we’re going to go through it again this year with someone, I’m not sure who.

“It’s going to be very difficult for someone.”