Sam De Koning handballs during the round 20 match between Geelong and Fremantle at GMHBA Stadium, July 29, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

WHEN Chris Scott heard Sam De Koning was in line for a milestone match this weekend the reason for celebration wasn't what the coach expected.

Now 23 years old and with a premiership behind him, De Koning seems to have been a part of the Cats' lineup for a long time, however, Saturday's clash against Carlton – and brother Tom – will only be De Koning’s 50th outing at AFL level.

It will be the third time the siblings have faced off, with the win tally currently sitting at one apiece.

"I really think of Sam being a mainstay of our team and it sort of took me by surprise," Scott said on Friday.

Sam De Koning holds aloft the premiership cup after the Grand Final between Geelong and Sydney at the MCG, September 24, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"When someone said he had a milestone, I was hedging more towards (it being) 100 than 50.

"He's a very young player, there's a lot of footy in front of him, but he's already crucial to us.

"There's no better stage (for the milestone). I don't know how he feels about playing against his brother - I don't bring it up with him - but more important is you get to play in front of a virtually sold-out MCG on a Saturday afternoon.

"It's pretty cool."


Geelong's star defender Tom Stewart is unavailable because of concussion protocols while No.1 ruckman Rhys Stanley and Zach Tuohy will return to action against the Blues.

Premiership midfielder Cam Guthrie is also back for his first game in 12 months after recovering from last year's foot surgery and a pre-season quadriceps injury.

"He's been in full training for well over a month with a plan to get him straight back into the AFL team," Scott said.

"It's been a well thought through process and this has been the plan all along.

"You could say he hasn't played AFL football for a long time, but that would be ignoring the pre-season and the preparation he's had over the last six weeks in particular."

Cam Guthrie leaves the field after sustaining an injury during a practice match between Carlton and Geelong at Ikon Park, February 22, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Carlton has named an unchanged line-up with Michael Voss declaring Jacob Weitering (hamstring) and Zac Williams (calf) certain starters despite both copping knocks last week.

Key defender Weitering's fitness is a huge boost for the Blues as they seek to shut down Geelong's star talls Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron.

Cameron starred with six goals from 25 disposals last time the teams met - back in round two last year - although Carlton emerged as narrow winners.

The De Koning brothers’ face off reminded Voss of a similar scenario in his own playing days.

Then a Brisbane Lions champion, Michael Voss played against Brett Voss 10 times after his younger brother's move from Queensland to St Kilda in 2001, for six wins and four losses.

Michael Voss and brother Brett Voss of Brisbane pose for a photoshoot at the Gabba in 1996. Picture: AFL Photos

Voss said he tried to "bash" his brother whenever they crossed paths at AFL level, but has urged Tom De Koning to treat sibling Sam like any other player in a heavyweight clash between two premiership contenders.

"You can handle that in different ways, but I certainly hope he treats it like it's another jumper," Voss said on Friday.

"It's hard not to, but there's obviously an emotional buy-in there.

Sam De Koning and Tom De Koning after the round 18 match between Carlton and Geelong at the MCG, July 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"I'm not sure how Tom went in the backyard against Sam - I'm not sure who won most of the dust-ups - but I'm hoping he gets the upper hand this weekend."

"I tried to bash him as much as I could. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't," Voss recalled.

"It's always an interesting battle but in some ways Tom's brothers this week are the players he's playing with and that's all he needs to know."