GEELONG will blood Irish recruit Mark O'Connor against Essendon in Saturday night's Country Game after upgrading the rookie to its senior list on Thursday.
Recruited in last year's NAB AFL Rookie Draft, O'Connor has produced strong VFL form and the Cats have elevated him in place of midfielder Brandan Parfitt, who has been placed on the long-term injury list.
The 20-year-old was a Gaelic football star with Kerry before joining the Cats as a category-B rookie last October, showing strong improvement this year as a midfielder with speed and flair.
Geelong beat up to five clubs to secure O'Connor last year, with interest in the 189cm midfielder peaking after he ran fourth in the 3km time trial at the NAB AFL Draft Combine.
"What I’ve learned over the past few weeks is everything happens quickly in the AFL," O'Connor told AFL.com.au last year.
"Only a couple of months ago Tadhg Kennelly invited me to the combine held in Ireland and I had played a lot of Gaelic football growing up.
"There’s a few Irish guys out here now and they’ve opened the door for me to come through the system.
"I went to the combine in Ireland and Tadhg was interested in bringing me out to see how I’d go against these guys."
Meanwhile, captain Joel Selwood is confident of overcoming an ankle injury to take his place in the side.
Selwood, who returned from last week's loss to Gold Coast on crutches, will be named in the side on Thursday night.
"I'll do a little bit more work tomorrow to make sure," Selwood told krockfootball.com.au on Thursday afternoon.
"We want to go in with 22 fit men."