K rock Football

No place like home for Cats

Geelong runs onto GMHBA Stadium in 2019. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

THE stands will be empty but the unique dimensions of GMHBA Stadium will ensure Geelong retain a distinct home-ground advantage when the AFL season resumes, defender Tom Stewart says.

The Cats’ home track is only 112m wide from wing to wing, making it 10m narrower than any other venue in the AFL.

At 167m, it’s also the longest ground in the competition.

The Cats will play three of their next four matches there, with arch-rivals Hawthorn making the trip down the Princes Highway in round two for the first time since 2006.

“We train here every session so we like to know the little nuances of what happens with the wind here and everything like that,” 27-year-old Stewart told reporters on Tuesday.

“I don’t think the (lack of) crowd is going to come too much into it, it’s more the surface area.

“It’s just smaller, it’s skinnier and it’s longer.

“There’s not as much width in terms of the playing surface.

“Teams feel they can get crammed in a bit here and we can really defend well, which is what we like to do here.

“We just love to defend this ground really well and make it as small as possible.”

After going down by 32 points away to GWS in round one before the season came to a premature halt, the Cats are well placed to make up ground quickly.

In the next four weeks, they play the Hawks, Carlton and Gold Coast at GMHBA Stadium, along with a short trip to the MCG to tackle Melbourne.

With crowds unlikely to be a factor during the coronavirus crisis, the Cats expect to play all of their home fixtures at GMHBA Stadium in 2020, rather than have a few scheduled at the MCG.

Geelong resumed full training on Tuesday, with Stewart saying Jack Steven was under no obligation to inform his teammates of the circumstances around the stab wound he incurred earlier this month.

“For the short term it’s just good to know that he’s happy and healthy,” Stewart said of Steven, who joined the Cats in the off-season after a decorated 183-game career with St Kilda.

(C) AAP 2020