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Selwood a starter, wait and see on Sloane

Football

Gun midfielder Rory Sloane will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness for the Crows’ qualifying final against Greater Western Sydney, but the guessing game is over on Geelong skipper Joel Selwood.

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Cats coach Chris Scott last night confirmed the club captain will play against Richmond in Friday night’s qualifying final.

Selwood hasn’t played since round 20 when he suffered an ankle syndesmosis injury that required surgery.

The usual recovery time after such surgery is almost double the 35 days that will have elapsed between Selwood’s operation and Friday night’s big game at the MCG.

But Scott told Fox Footy’s AFL360 that Selwood has done enough at training in recent days to prove he is ready to face the Tigers.

“I’m really confident now… I’m happy to say for the first time that he’ll play,” Scott said.

“I was really confident last week without being sure – I wanted to see a little bit of the match practice on Saturday – but then the big test was how he pulled up.

“So we trained again today and he just looked normal to us, so he’ll play unless something drastic happens that no one’s predicting.”

The Western Bulldogs’ Tom Liberatore took a week longer than Selwood will to return from a similar injury last season, which at the time was considered a superhuman effort.

But Scott said there is nothing to be gained from such comparisons.

“I get a little bit frustrated with the ‘standard recovery period’ because no two people are the same,” he said.

“Mark Blicavs had a similar injury and was back a little bit later … there is this weird make-up that some players have where they recover quickly and heal quickly.

“Some people will say that it’s just because they’re tough… I think it’s a little bit more than that. I think some guys just come back physically quicker than others.”

The Crows will be hoping Sloane falls into that category, with the reigning club champion to be given until tomorrow to prove his fitness for Thursday night’s qualifying final.

Sloane, who had appendix surgery last Tuesday, was restricted to light duties away from Adelaide’s main playing group yesterday.

“We will get some feedback on how he went, obviously Wednesday will probably be the day the decision will be made,” Teague told reporters yesterday.

“We all know Rory and how tough he is (and) generally with a player of Rory’s calibre, we will give him every chance.

“But if he’s no chance, we will rule him out… Rory’s health is our priority.”

Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs will play in the opening match of the finals series despite the death of his 31-year-old brother from an undisclosed illness last Wednesday.

“It’s obviously a tough time for him and his family, and our best wishes go out to them,” Teague said.

“But in terms of Sam, one of the things that brought his family together was footy and I have got no doubt he will dig deep this week.

“Footy is probably not his biggest priority but knowing him as a person, he will find something for the boys.”

Adelaide captain Taylor Walker (foot), Daniel Talia (ankle) and rookie defender Alex Keath (concussion) have been cleared of their respective injuries.

Walker, Talia and first-year onballer Hugh Greenwood, who was rested from the last home-and-away game, are certain to be recalled to Adelaide’s side for the GWS final.

Meanwhile, the Crows and Giants have organised a Friday scratch match between their reserves, whose respective campaigns in the NEAFL and SANFL are over.

It could help hand a lifeline for the forgotten veteran of the lauded GWS midfield, with Ryan Griffen on the cusp of a comeback.

Griffen broke down in round three and has been on the sidelines for five months.

The former Western Bulldogs skipper won’t face Adelaide in Thursday night’s qualifying final but his recovery from back-to-back syndesmosis ankle injuries has progressed significantly in recent weeks.

Griffen, provided he trains well this week, will return on Friday.

It will hand Griffen and other players overlooked in week one of the finals a golden chance to find form and/or match fitness.

Griffen joined GWS in acrimonious circumstances following the 2014 season, requesting a trade after falling out of love with the game as captain of the Bulldogs.

The 31-year-old has since managed 39 games for GWS, with back and hamstring problems limiting his time on the park in 2016.

Jeremy Cameron recently paid tribute to Griffen’s work ethic during another frustrating year for the on-baller.

Cameron recently returned from a minor hamstring injury, noting Griffen had been somewhat of an inspiration.

“I was in the rehab group for four weeks. You’re beside guys who have been there all year,” Cameron said.

“They’re the guys doing it the toughest.

“Ryan played two and a half games this year, but he’s in there giving it everything.

“It’s hard not to train extremely hard.”

-AAP

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