Geelong coach Mark Thompson is poised to again be forced to make a tough decision in AFL grand final week, with half-forward Paul Chapman expected to play Hawthorn on Saturday at the MCG.
Thompson said the Cats were confident Chapman would pass a fitness test at Wednesday’s main training session after sitting out last Friday night’s preliminary final because of a hamstring problem.
If Chapman does play the Cats must again drop one player from the side to play the season decider, having dropped ruckman Mark Blake before last year’s grand final demolition of Port Adelaide.
Thompson revealed today he knew which player would make way for Chapman, but refused to divulge who that was.
Any one of midfielder James Kelly, defender Harry Taylor, forward Tom Lonergan, half-back David Wojcinski or small forward Mathew Stokes could be the unlucky player.
Thompson said Chapman would only play if he was 100 per cent fit, and that the Cats would not name him if he did not impress at training tomorrow.
He said one player would be very unlucky to be dropped.
“The guys that have been mentioned, they’re all on notice,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to getting the decision out of the way so that everybody knows whether they’re playing.”
Besides that tough call, Thompson said Geelong were enjoying the build-up to this year’s grand final more than they did last year, when the pressure was on to break the club’s long flag drought.
“It’s been more of a normal week than last time,” he said.
“The players have been through it and it’s a different feel.
“It’s just as exciting, but it’s just the anxiety, the tension and the pressure – it’s not as great certainly from a coaching point of view.
“I’m certain the players would say that as well.”