There are fears St Kilda veteran Jarryn Geary has suffered a broken leg
There are fears St Kilda veteran Jarryn Geary has suffered a broken leg

Fears luckless Saint has suffered a broken leg

Jarryn Geary's luckless run with injury has continued with fears the St Kilda veteran may have broken his leg during a training session at Moorabbin on Friday.

In what could be a serious blow for the Saints, the 32-year-old was taken from the ground and in for immediate scans after the incident.

The club fears the worst and will give a clearer picture on the severity of Geary's injury later on Friday.

Geary, who captained the Saints into their first finals series in almost a decade last year, remains an important player for the club, having played 16 matches, missing three due to injury.

The heart-and-soul Saint managed only five games in an injury-ravaged 2019 season, where he had emergency compartmental surgery following the Round 5 clash with Melbourne before breaking his leg in the Shanghai clash with Port Adelaide on his return in Round 11.

Geary enters the 2021 season - his 14th AFL season with the club - on a one-year deal.

He has led the Saints since 2017. The club has not yet held its player vote for the 2021 skipper.

He has played 204 games with the club since his 2008 debut.

 

MODIFIED ROLE TO EASE DANGER'S GROIN STRESS

Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield has revealed he could play forward more frequently early in the 2021 season as he works to overcome the groin soreness he carried throughout much of last season, including the Grand Final loss to Richmond.

Dangerfield remains hopeful of being ready to take on Adelaide in the Cats' Round 1 clash, but won't risk a return if he isn't fully prepared for the March 20 clash.

Speaking on Thursday to the Herald Sun as the club locked in another long-term sponsorship deal with Ford, the 30-year-old midfielder said he would continue to make regular trips to Adelaide to see renowned groin/hip expert Steve Saunders.

 

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"It's getting there," Dangerfield said of his groin soreness, conceding for the first time that the issue had hampered his effectiveness "for a while now".

"Round 1 is a target and I don't think I am at any risk of missing that, but I am also not bound by that (time)," he said.

"It will be ready when it is ready. I have had enough experience and longevity in the game to know Round 1 is not the be all and end all.

"If you lose Round 1 ... there are still 21 games to go."

He is hoping to "get back to a small portion of training at some stage of the next couple of weeks."

His slower-than-usual build up to the season could see him spend more time forward - where he can be a serious weapon for the Cats - in the opening month.

 

Patrick Dangerfield (right) watches the Cats train with teammate Luke Dahlhaus at GMHBA Stadium last week. Picture: Michael Klein
Patrick Dangerfield (right) watches the Cats train with teammate Luke Dahlhaus at GMHBA Stadium last week. Picture: Michael Klein

"It definitely might (impact on positioning early in the season)," he said.

"We have seen a progression from month to month now, so if everything keeps progressing the way it is going now, the signs are really, really good.

"But you don't count on regressions ... it all just depends on what happens.

"It is about balancing getting back into main training and the cutting and changing (of) direction. It is balancing that with the work and conditioning to play over a long period of time, with less interchange and running hard as a midfielder."

He said Saunders - who previously worked with Adelaide and North Melbourne, and has had great success with a host of AFL players with groin and hip injuries - would continue to assist him in the coming weeks.

"The borders are open at the moment, so yeah I've been flying there (Adelaide) a couple of times a week," he said.

"Within the AFL, most players who have had any significant issues throughout their careers over the past 20 years have seen him at some stage.

"He has a wealth of experience in that field and it is a really specific one that you need to get right or it can linger for a long time, which I have experienced."

Dangerfield said he had come to terms with the club's final term fade-out to Richmond in last year's Grand Final, but had been buoyed by the recruitment of Jeremy Cameron, Isaac Smith and Shaun Higgins to boost the club's overall depth.

"(The desire to win a flag) is the same, you are obviously closer when you make a Grand Final and lose it than when you lose a prelim and you are not in it," he said.

"There is a bit of a view that you are no good if you lose a Grand Final. (But) the reality is you have progressed further than 16 other sides.

"It is disappointing, but it would have been harder to swallow if we had not had three pretty handy players walk through the door."

 

Geelong stars Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield and AFLW players Becky Webster and Meg McDonald with Ford chief Andrew Birkic and Geelong boss Brian Cook Picture: Peter Ristevski
Geelong stars Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield and AFLW players Becky Webster and Meg McDonald with Ford chief Andrew Birkic and Geelong boss Brian Cook Picture: Peter Ristevski

 

Dangerfield, who is also the AFL Players Association president, welcomed more research and debate on the impact and effects of concussion in the wake of the late Shane Tuck's alarming CTE findings.

The AFL is set to overhaul its "return to play" protocols ahead of the 2021 season as the league looks to minimise the impact of concussion.

"We need to do as much as we can to make the game as safe as possible but we also need to understand that it is not one-size-fits-all when it comes to concussion," Dangerfield said.

"There are still so many things that we don't know about concussion and the effects of it, and every individual is going to be different."

"The reality is that everyone reacts differently and you can't treat everyone the same."

He said the club's ongoing relationship with Ford - which dates back to 1925, the year of the club's first VFL flag - was extraordinary.

"You think globally how old sport is around the world and yet a little town that is Geelong has a relationship (with Ford) that has lasted longer than any other in professional sport," he said.

 

 

 

 

 

Ziebell embraces surprise role

- Matt Turner

North Melbourne veteran Jack Ziebell says the club's experienced defenders are helping him adjust to a new role at half-back this year.

New Kangaroos coach David Noble floated the idea of a positional change to Ziebell before Christmas and the inside midfielder was open to a switch after his injury-hampered 2020 campaign.

Ziebell played across half-back sparingly as a junior, then in a few games during his debut AFL season and again a couple of years ago when they were short there.

The 29-year-old said he was still learning the ropes of the role.

"I've got some really experienced defenders - Robbie Tarrant, Josh Walker, Aidan Corr, Luke McDonald also at half-back - around me … and they've been awesome for me," Ziebell said.

 

The Kangas are looking to reinvent club veteran Jack Ziebell across the backline. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
The Kangas are looking to reinvent club veteran Jack Ziebell across the backline. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

"I was quite excited to get down there the first couple of weeks of pre-season training and after a week and a bit down there now, I've learnt so much."

Ziebell featured in just eight games last year due to hamstring problems as the Kangaroos finished the campaign second-bottom with a 3-14 record.

Four months on, he is on track to complete a full pre-season, which is symbolic of the club's injury list.

"A big change last year from the last couple of years has been our availability at this time of year," he said.

"Last time at times throughout the year we picked from 25 or 26 players to field a side.

"This year we've had just about everyone training most sessions, which is something I haven't seen at the footy club for four or five years.

"If that continues we're going to have some good availability come Round 1 and plenty of guys pushing for selection."

 

Jy Simpkin looks to move the ball in a running duel. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Jy Simpkin looks to move the ball in a running duel. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

 

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One player who is missing is on-baller Trent Dumont, who is recovering from a calf tweak over Christmas.

"He's already done the majority of his rehab away from the group and he'll start joining in the next few weeks, which is good to hear because he's an integral part of the team," Ziebell said.

Charlie Comben is set to have a delayed start to his season after sustaining a stress fracture in his leg.

 

Originally published as Fears luckless Saint has suffered a broken leg

A fit-looking Ziebell holds his ground in a stoppage. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
A fit-looking Ziebell holds his ground in a stoppage. Picture: Jake Nowakowski