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Selwood in doubt for blockbuster after weekend of nailbiters

Football

The fitness of concussed skipper Joel Selwood will preoccupy the Cats ahead of Saturday’s tantalising clash against ladder leaders Greater Western Sydney.

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Selwood was laid out unconscious, flat on his back on the Simonds Stadium turf in the first minute of yesterday’s thrilling win over Fremantle after a head clash with Hayden Ballantyne.

He was helped off the ground by two trainers before jogging to the Cats’ rooms for assessment where he was ruled out for the rest of the game.

“The short answer is yes, but which end of the spectrum from extreme doubt to just a little bit?” coach Chris Scott replied when asked if the skipper was in doubt for Saturday night’s clash at Spotless Stadium.

“I can’t give you an outlook on the positive or negative side but I will say we’re really confident that he’ll work through a really stringent process which will give us an outcome independent of the coaches, players and administration.

“He was up and about really quickly and he was talking to me about how the game was going on, which is a good sign.

“He certainly wasn’t in such a state where he couldn’t speak to his teammates and coaches coherently.”

The third-placed Cats have a six-day break before they meet the Giants, but Scott said the fact Selwood had barely been on the ground a minute could count in his favour.

Impressive defender Tom Stewart didn’t see any action in the second half and faces a period on the sidelines after copping a blow to the face.

“He has got a significant eye socket injury,” Scott reported, adding that he had been sent to hospital for scans and treatment.

“I’m not sure of the exact extent of the injury but the nature seems to be a facial fracture of some sort.”

Darcy Lang was knocked out of the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter, while Lachie Henderson (groin) and Jordan Cunico (ankle) were withdrawn from the team on Friday and match day respectively.

It was deja vu as one of the most even AFL seasons in history delivered again, with Geelong’s narrow win over Fremantle one of four single-digit thrillers for the round.

The Dockers were themselves without Brownlow Medal winner Nat Fyfe and imposing ruckman Aaron Sandilands, fielding a young side including two debutants.

But Ross Lyon’s side led by as many as 34 points before suffering a heart-breaking two-point loss.

Michael Walters could have won it with a flying shot just before the final siren sounded, but his hurried kick went wide to leave the Cats 10.14 (74) to 11.6 (72) winners.

“In the end all I know is we had an opportunity to win the game with the last kick of the day,” Lyon said.

“Our leaders stood up… it was a strong performance without getting the points, so we walk away disappointed.

“But there is our parallel story of growth.

“You can lose and go forward and we clearly have… this is the right way to go about it.”

Three other games were decided by three points or less.

Essendon looked to have the premiership points in the bag at the SCG on Friday night until a stirring Sydney fightback ended with a Gary Rohan goal after the siren that sealed a one-point win.

“It’s not often you go through games like that,” Sydney coach John Longmire said after the 11.20 (86) to 12.13 (85) win.

“We were in a lot of trouble with 4:30 to go and 19 points down.

“You’re in the lap of the players (in those situations) … the boys worked through it really well and we had a bit of luck.”

Jake Stringer scored the decisive behind that allowed the Western Bulldogs to seal a stunning 15.17 (107) to 16.10 (106) win over North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Tom McDonald was the hero for Melbourne with his last-minute goal securing a 15.9 (99) to 14.12 (96) win over West Coast at Domain Stadium.

Greater Western Sydney reclaimed top spot on the ladder with a comfortable 22.14 (146) to 12.14 (86) over last-placed Brisbane at the Gabba.

The Giants replaced Adelaide, who suffered a shock 14.12 (96) to 12.10 (82) loss to Hawthorn at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night to slip to second.

Port Adelaide hung onto fourth spot with a convincing 13.15 (93) to 9.8 (62) win over Collingwood at the MCG.

Richmond saw off Carlton 11.18 (84) to 8.10 (58) in a scrappy encounter at the MCG on Sunday to maintain their hold on sixth spot, while St Kilda accounted for Gold Coast at Etihad late yesterday to re-enter the eight.

-AAP

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