Geelong has named its Round 1 team that will play Essendon in the annual Powercor Country Festival clash at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.

After an impressive pre-season which included a four-goal haul against Richmond in a practice match, Tyson Stengle will make his debut for the Cats.

“Tyson (Stengle) comes into our team and gives us something a little bit different,” Coach Chris Scott told Cats Media.

“It's probably unfair to lump him in with our smaller, running forwards because he's got some unique skills separate to those guys. 

“He's a great story as well. AFL footy generally does a great job at providing second chances for players and people and he hasn't put a foot wrong this pre-season. We didn't bring him in on a guarantee that he'd be on our team, he had to train and play and perform his way into our 22 for Round 1 and he's done that really well.” 

Young key defender Sam De Koning also gets an opportunity to play at the MCG for the first time after being named in Geelong’s backline.

The 21-year-old has played just the one AFL game in his career to date, coming in Round 5 last season against North Melbourne.

Geelong’s backline will also be boosted by the return of Jack Henry who missed both of Geelong's pre-season hitouts and recently appointed vice-captain Tom Stewart who has been a standout in recent months after missing last year’s finals series.

“Tom Stewart is flying, has been all pre-season. Jack Henry had a foot issue around Christmas that required minor surgery but hasn't put a foot wrong since then. He's had some match practice and he's more than ready to go.” 

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Other players who’ve been standouts during pre-season and who fans should keep an eye on include Zach Guthrie, Max Holmes, Esava Ratugolea and Patrick Dangerfield.

Gates will open for MCC at 12pm and General Public at 12.30pm ahead of the 2.10pm first bounce on Saturday.

Those attending the game are encouraged to come along from 10am to enjoy the festivities as fans will be treated to a range of exciting activations and giveaways on the day with a farmers’ market, food trucks, footy activities and inflatables spread across the Yarra Park precinct. 

Morris will be donating $500 to Foodbank, the equivalent of 1000 meals for every goal Geelong kick against Essendon on Saturday to support victims of the flooding in Queensland and New South Wales.

Round 1 Team

NEW: Tyson Stengle

Backs Jake Kolodjashnij Sam De Koning Jack Henry
Half Backs Zach Tuohy Tom Stewart Mark Blicavs
Centreline Max Holmes Cameron Guthrie Isaac Smith
Half Forwards Tyson Stengle Esava Ratugolea Brandan Parfitt
Forwards Jeremy Cameron Tom Hawkins Shaun Higgins
Followers Rhys Stanley Patrick Dangerfield Joel Selwood
Interchange Zach Guthrie Luke Dahlhaus Brad Close
  Tom Atkins    
Emergencies Cooper Stephens Francis Evans Quinton Narkle
  Cooper Whyte    


Game Details:

Footy special coaches and trains that V/Line are running between Geelong and Southern Cross. Find out more

Geelong Cats v Essendon 
Saturday 19 March
Bounce 2.10pm

Gates Open:
Public: 12:30pm
AFL Reserved: 12:30pm
MCC Reserve: 12pm

Festival Commences

Click here to secure your seats for the Round 1 clash at the MCG.

Celebrate in style before the first bounce at the Round 1 Member Function: tickets available now.