GEELONG Rookie Ollie Dempsey has continued his meteoric rise from school footballer to AFL debutant with the first-year Cat named to take on the Kangaroos.
The Cats plucked Dempsey from obscurity in the 2021 Rookie Draft off the back of strong performances for Carey Grammar in the year 12 and under-19 sides.
The spring-heeled forward has excelled at VFL level, nailing four goals in his first practice match before kicking bags of three and four majors by Round 4.
Assistant coach Nigel Lappin sang the praises of Dempsey in this week's official Cats podcast.
"He’s just an excitement machine, he’s got a really good vertical leap," Lappin says.
"He’s turned himself into a hybrid forward, one of those guys who can play reasonably tall if you need him to but he’s one of our best 2km time triallists."
Dempsey comes from a basketball background, having just made the switch to football to play with his school friends in 2021.
"He comes from a basketball background and hasn’t played a heap of representative footy. He played a bit of junior footy," Lappin says.
"He was quite small and played as a point guard as a basketballer and I think he grew over 20cm over one season."
Patrick Dangerfield and Jack Henry have both been withdrawn from the side.
Geelong is taking a conservative approach with Henry after he injured the same foot that he had surgery on during the pre-season, against Hawthorn.
“Jack had an acute injury on the same foot as he had his previous injury during the pre-season,” head of medical and conditioning services Harry Taylor says.
"We’ll take a cautious approach with his reloading and get some further imaging done to investigate further."
Dangerfield suffered a cork against the Hawks.
Jake Kolodjashnij also comes into the side after playing as last week's injury sub.
Round 6 Team
INS: Ollie Dempsey, Shaun Higgins, Jake Kolodjashnij
OUTS: Patrick Dangerfield (injured), Jack Henry (injured), Luke Dahlhaus (managed)
|Backs||Sam De Koning||Mark Blicavs||Jed Bews|
|Half Backs||Jake Kolodjashnij||Tom Stewart||Zach Tuohy|
|Centreline||Mitch Duncan||Joel Selwood||Isaac Smith|
|Half Forwards||Shaun Higgins||Jeremy Cameron||Ollie Dempsey|
|Forwards||Brad Close||Tom Hawkins||Tyson Stengle|
|Followers||Rhys Stanley||Brandan Parfitt||Cameron Guthrie|
|Interchange||Tom Atkins||Mark O'Connor||Gryan Miers|
|Emergencies||Zach Guthrie||Esava Ratugolea||Luke Dahlhaus|