Key Cats In Doubt After NAB Cup Opener

Geelong's preseason opener could have come at a cost.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

Geelong’s opening appearance in the preseason NAB Cup in Perth on Saturday night may have come at a cost- key players Matthew Stokes and Stevie Johnson are in doubt for the start of the AFL season.

Small forward Stokes had to be carried off the field during the second half of Geelong’s two-point win over West Coast in the first match of the NAB opening round triple-header also featuring the Fremantle Dockers.

Stokes injured his ankle in a heavy tackle and any serious time on the side lines could see him lose his spot for round one, set to kick off in roughly a month and a half.

While Stokes’ injury may not be as serious as initially thought, coach Chris Scott gave his own diagnosis saying, "it doesn't look good". Stokes was seen on crutches during Geelong’s second game against Fremantle.

Another key member of Geelong’s forward line could also be rubbed out for the start of the AFL home and away season after a controversial hit.

During Geelong’s second game of the night, Johnson struck noted Fremantle antagonist Hayden Ballantyne on the upper chest and could face a suspension.

Bad blood obviously still exists between the two clubs after last season’s heat round one encounter and Johnson’s strike, which knocked down Ballantyne for a good 60 seconds, could face missing Geelong’s start to the home and away season.

Geelong was fairly convincingly defeated by Fremantle after a solid performance against West Coast to kick off the triple-header, but received solid performances from a host of young players and good return from Travis Varcoe, who missed all but one game in 2012 with a stress fracture in his right foot.

Fremantle, impressive in the win against Geelong but dreadful later against West Coast, also lost key forward Chris Mayne to an injury.

Mayne injured his ankle against the Eagles and had to be helped from the field. He looked to be in considerable pain, but was later spotted gingerly walking around the Dockers’ rooms.

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