Veteran defender Lachie Henderson is in the mix to replace injured star Tom Stewart as Geelong prepare to celebrate a pair of major AFL milestones against in-form Gold Coast on Saturday.
Cats captain Joel Selwood will play his 300th game for the club and decorated veteran Gary Ablett will make his 350th senior appearance, fittingly against the Suns after he spent seven seasons with the expansion side.
But All-Australian backman Stewart will miss the GMHBA Stadium fixture after suffering a broken collarbone in Sunday’s narrow three-point win over Melbourne.
The injury will keep Stewart sidelined for multiple weeks and opens the door for Henderson, who is yet to play an AFL match this year.
The 30-year-old inked a one-year contract extension late last year after managing just 13 appearances in the past two seasons.
Henderson put his hand up with a strong display in Sunday’s reserves scratch match against the Demons at Port Melbourne.
“His training form is outstanding … I wouldn’t blame him if he came up to me and said, ‘What more have I got to do?'” Cats coach Chris Scott said.
“Hendo was really clear on the terms with which he played on one more season.
“It was going to be really hard for him to force his way into the team.
“He’s gone in with the mindset that he’s going to do everything he possibly can and he’s well and truly doing that.”
Stewart was hurt in a seemingly innocuous incident where he and Melbourne forward Tom McDonald bumped shoulders behind play.
“He could’ve done that in the warm-up,” Scott said.
“It just goes to show. I’m an old-timer now, but the guys that played footy before me, if they think footy was tougher back then they’re kidding themselves.”
Scott was hopeful the Ablett and Selwood milestones would give Geelong a small lift against the Suns.
“We need to put a little bit of an emphasis on it because it’s a remarkable achievement from both of them,” Scott said.
“You can’t ignore the elephant in the room, but I suspect what they would want is the team to play better, keep improving and hopefully we win the game.”