Werribee will be looking to atone for its round-one heartbreaker when it takes on Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday morning.
Saturday, June 30
11am at GMHBA Stadium
The story so far
Since their season-opening nail-biter down at Torquay’s Spring Creek Reserve on Easter Sunday, Werribee and Geelong have travelled somewhat diverging paths through season 2018. With two wins from its last three matches, Werribee has built its best run of momentum for the year but still sits 3-7 and without consecutive victories, while Geelong boasts the inverse figures of 7-3 courtesy of a run of four straight wins ahead of its round-12 bye.
As impressive as Werribee’s round-one performance against Geelong was, the black-and-gold faithful won’t care to be reminded of the result, which saw the Cats snatch a last-minute victory with a Luke Kiel goal from the boundary. It continued Geelong’s recent run of success against its rivals up the highway, as the Cats prevailed in the corresponding Easter fixture the previous year and also notched a resounding win when the two sides last officially faced off at GMHBA Stadium back in 2016.
Geelong boasted 14 AFL-listed players back in round one, and a number of key inclusions this round mean it could line up with as many as 19. Forward Daniel Menzel, midfielder Nakia Cockatoo, and ruckman Zac Smith headline the new additions to the side this week, with Cory Gregson, Zach Guthrie, Wylie Buzza, and Jamaine Jones also all included in the squad.
Werribee will be hoping for another big performance from key defender Sam Collins, who has been in red-hot form all year but produced the game of his life against the Cats back in round one to finish with 27 disposals and 14 marks, 10 of which were contested. Collins’ game against Frankston last weekend was perhaps his most important and influential since, so the form line looks promising for the visitors.
The absence of the injured Josh Corbett means Werribee will be without its number-one goalkicker this year for the first time since its previous encounter with Geelong. As much as the likes of Andrew Hooper and Matthew Munro were capable of stepping up to fill the void that day, Corbett’s 22 goals from his nine games since have seen him well and truly take of the mantle of Werribee’s main target inside forward 50. His omission means his side will be looking to the likes Josh Corbett to shoulder more of the load up forward, though Joel Bennett’s surprise six-goal haul last weekend shows the visitors have other options in front of goal as well.
Against the likes of Cockatoo and Scott Selwood, Werribee’s midfield won’t expect to have things quite as much on its own terms as it did against Frankston last weekend, but it will nonetheless take plenty of heart from the performances of Tom Gribble, Joe Maishman, and Kurt Aylett, who all racked up 30-plus disposals against the Dolphins. Maishman’s four goals and nine tackles capped off a complete midfield performance his side will be hoping he can replicate this week on the wide expanses of GMHBA Stadium.
Werribee ruckman Jack Berry put in an outstanding first-up performance against his old side back in round one, paving the way for another tantalising clash with the Cats’ combination of Smith and Ryan Abbott on Saturday. He won’t have this assistance of the injured Nick Nott this time around, so expect Porter to continue to provide relief, though Julian Lockwood or Jade Cleeland could also both be in line for a recall to boost their side’s key-position stocks.