K rock Football

Cats with calls to make

Jack Steven in action for Geelong during the Marsh Series. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

GEELONG will have some difficult decisions at the selection table ahead of Friday night’s Round 2 clash with Hawthorn, as Chris Scott wrestle with whether to take a conservative approach with several players.

Jack Steven headlines the list of uncertain starters, with the star recruit now back into full training just weeks after being stabbed in the chest in an off-field incident.

“(We) haven’t quite decided on Jack Steven yet,” Scott revealed on Tuesday morning.

“Jack could play. I haven’t got any great doubt about that. It’s just whether it’s the prudent thing for him longer term, so we are still in the process of working through that.

“If he gets through (today’s) session OK we are still open-minded; if he has some issues that probably rules him out.

“I’m very confident he’ll get through the session and put his hand up to play, it’s just a matter of whether we push the button or not.

“I think if we don’t play him, we are being conservative but that’s OK.”

Brandan Parfitt is a likely inclusion to the Round 1 side that lost to Greater Western Sydney, while forward Josh Jenkins has suffered a setback and will not be available.

“(He) woke up with a back spasm,” Scott said.

“It will be temporary. It means he’s unlikely for this week but won’t set him back too far.”

Jake Kolodjashnij is one Cat to benefit most from the two-month AFL shutdown, with off-season hip surgery set initially to sideline him for months.

Scott acknowledged the defender had been a strong performer on the track and “probably could play”, but they will likely hold him back for another week or two.

“(We are) leaning towards being a bit more conservative with a few guys that we think could play,” he said.

“I suspect we will lean towards playing the guys that we are more confident of and more certain of their preparation.

The battle for the No. 1 ruck spot will again be in the spotlight, with Darcy Fort getting the nod in Round 1.

However, Scott said the door is “wide open” for Rhys Stanley to come into the side.

“We’ve got two guys who are in really good form, had really good preparations and can do the job for us so it will be a tight call that one,” he said.

So, could two genuine ruckmen make their way into the Cats line-up?

“We tend to prioritise our second tall forward too much to do that.

“We think (Esava) Ratugolea could be a genuine number one ruckman in his own right. We think we’ve got pretty good balance there and good options.”

 

Scott has played down the advantage Geelong will have over Hawthorn by playing at GMHBA Stadium.

It’s the first clash at the venue between the two clubs since 2006.

“Does it give us an overwhelming advantage?” Scott questioned.

“I don’t think so. I think the crowd takes away from that a little bit as well and I think they are a really good team, and they should be to an extent.

“They’ve recruited incredibly well, to have the success they’ve had, we’ve got great respect for them.

“To bring in Jon Patton a No. 1 pick, Tom Scully a No. 1 pick, Chad Wingard No. 4 pick off the back of the success they’ve had it speaks to how impressive they’ve been with their off-field management.

“It’s only a matter of time before that translates onfield.

“We aren’t thinking, ‘beauty; we’ve got them down at Geelong, we’ll be right’.”

Twitter: @KanePitman