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Dangerfield, Martin back for big AFL clash

3 minute read

Geelong will welcome back Patrick Dangerfield for his first AFL game in a month against Richmond, who will be bolstered by the return of Dustin Martin.

PATRICK DANGERFIELD. Picture: Will Russell/AFL Media/Getty Images

Patrick Dangerfield and fellow superstar Dustin Martin will return to action as the headline acts when Geelong and Richmond face off in an AFL heavyweight battle in round 15.

Martin's availability after overcoming illness offsets the Tigers' loss of Trent Cotchin to a cracked collarbone, while Noah Balta (hamstring) is also out.

Cats veteran Dangerfield has not played since suffering calf tightness a month ago in the same muscle he injured earlier in the season.

The previous injury - a cork in the same spot where he had earlier suffered a strain - put him out of action for rounds six and seven.

The 32-year-old has since completed a block of training in the last month, including some high-intensity sessions, to prove his fitness.

Dangerfield's return for Saturday night's MCG showdown was confirmed by coach Chris Scott, who said the stage is set for a blockbuster clash between fourth and sixth on the ladder.

"We're pumped because this is the first time we've played in Melbourne for a little while where there shouldn't be any barriers to our fans getting up to the ground," Scott told Fox Footy.

"We've played games when trains haven't been running ... but Dustin Martin's back, Paddy Dangerfield's back and it's Saturday afternoon at the 'G, so get there Cats fans."

Cotchin requires surgery on a collarbone injury sustained during the third quarter of Richmond's win over Carlton last week.

"He's had some scans and it's showed he has a little crack in there which needs surgical repair and a plate put in there," Richmond's head of fitness Peter Burge said.

"So, he's having that done in the next day or so.

"He'll miss this week and we'll reassess beyond this week as to what that means.

"It's a little bit unfortunate, but we'll get him back as soon as we can."

Balta's latest hamstring issue has been deemed "very minor" but is on the same leg as his previous injury.

The Tigers will take a cautious approach with the versatile tall's rehabilitation.

"He's already running today at a really good speed, so it's certainly not a long-term injury," Burge said.

"But, we do need to tread lightly with it and be careful so that when he gets back next time, he stays back and plays the rest of the year for us."

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