South Fremantle product Shannon Neale to make AFL debut for Geelong Cats against Adelaide Crows

The West Australian
Shannon Neale will make his debut for Geelong.
Camera IconShannon Neale will make his debut for Geelong. Credit: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos/via AFL Photos

Big South Fremantle product Shannon Neale has joined the influx of young Cats to get a chance, named for his debut when Geelong take on Adelaide on Saturday.

The 202cm Neale was selected with the 33rd overall selection at the 2020 draft out of the WAFL, and joins Ollie Dempsey, Cooper Stephens, and Mitch Knevitt as first time Cats this year.

“I’m pretty stoked,” the 19-year-old said on Friday.

“It has come as a surprise, but I remember Harry Taylor telling me a while ago that it will come when I least expect it, which it did, but I’m ready to soak it all in and focus on tomorrow.”

The 202cm teenager has been a high impact player at VFL level this season playing predominantly as a forward but also pinch-hitting in the ruck, where his combination of size and athleticism has proved a difficult match up for opposition teams.

Neale’s five goal haul last week against the Northern Bullants was critical to the Cats’ 13 point victory and followed on from four goals in Round 3 against Brisbane.

He currently sits fifth on the 2022 VFL goal kicking table from seven games.

The Cat made a late change to their side on Friday when Gary Rohan was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Rohan joins Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield (calf) on the sidelines for the Cats.

Shannon Neale celebrates a goal in the VFL.
Camera IconShannon Neale celebrates a goal in the VFL. Credit: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos/via AFL Photos

The news wasn’t as good for another WA product with Port Adelaide dumping Mitch Georgiades as they confirmed the return of spearhead Charlie Dixon for Sunday’s twilight clash with Essendon.

Dixon hasn’t played since pre-season ankle surgery but returns alongside Riley Bonner with the 11th-placed Power dropping Georgiades, Lachie Jones and Martin Frederick.

Georgiades has played all 10 games this season but his form has tailed off recently.

He has only booted 10 goals for the season and averaged 12 disposals a match. He has been goalless in three of the past four matches despite Port’s resurgence.

Jones, Frederick and Georgiades were named emergencies alongside speedster Jed McEntee. The medical substitute will be named from the emergency list an hour before the bounce.

Influential Carlton midfielder Matt Kennedy will miss Sunday’s game against Collingwood because of injury.

Kennedy has been ruled out of the MCG fixture because of a corked thigh while Jack Carroll has been dropped and Brodie Kemp won’t play, with the Blues saying his workload is being managed.

Paddy Dow and Jack Newnes return for the third-placed Blues while Collingwood, sitting in 10th spot, have dumped Beau McCreery.

St Kilda axed Jack Billings and Ryan Byrnes and recalled Mitch Owens for their Sunday encounter against struggling North Melbourne, who have dumped Atu Bosenavulagi for the 250th game of their captain Jack Ziebell.

Essendon, with just two wins this year, summoned four players for the Adelaide Oval match, with Andrew Phillips, Harrison Jones, Jordan Ridley and Jye Caldwell returning to the side.

The Bombers axed Aaron Francis, Nick Bryan and Tom Cutler while Mason Redman is suspended and Matt Guelfi was unavailable because of a hamstring strain.

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