K rock Football

Scoot set for defensive role

Scott Selwood in action against Melbourne in 2018. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

SCOTT Selwood looks to set play an important role in curbing the influence of one of Fremantle’s star midfielders as Geelong looks to maintain its one-game buffer at the top of the AFL ladder.

Although the Dockers have struggled in recent weeks, losing five of their last six matches, they have matchwinners like Nat Fyfe and David Mundy that can take the contest away from the Cats.

That’s where Selwood, who played his first AFL match of the season against Sydney last week, becomes vital according to assistant coach Matthew Knights.

“Scott, last week, he came in and played the freelance role of playing ball-hunter, inside mid/wing, and we didn’t really have lined to anyone,” Knights said.

“This week, you’ve got look at guys like Fyfe and Mundy, and you’ve got to realise they are game-breakers.

“So, whether it’s Scott Selwood or Cam Guthrie, or even Mitch Duncan, they’re all capable of playing on the opposition’s good players and trying to halve them at the stoppages then go from there.”

Knights is confident Selwood is ready for the challenge.

“I think ‘Scooter’, one game in, we’d start throwing him a few more challenges as we go along.” Knights said.

“He’s in great shape physically. If you’re going to take on a role playing on a great player, you have to be physically and mentally in good shape.

“The great thing about Scooter’s build-up in the VFL over a long time, he’s established that run his legs, and he feels really fit and strong.

“So, throwing him these roles now will be exactly what he’s after.”

Knights says Geelong’s structure at stoppages will be crucial against veteran Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands.

In just his third game of the season after battling injury, the 36-year-old had 35 hitouts in last week’s loss to the Western Bulldogs.

“He hasn’t played a lot this year but what he’s good at is his ruck craft,” Knights said.

“Particularly around that ‘D’ (defensive) mid(field) and ‘A’ (attacking) midfield areas, he’s really good at farming the ball in any direction.

“In saying that, Zac Smith played great last week, we were rapt with his performance over the four quarters.

“He’ll have a great opportunity going up against Sandilands and (Sean) Darcy.

“It’s going to be a pretty monstrous task for Zac, but he’s up for it.

Knights says the decision to rest Harry Taylor had been “in the pipeline”, but the discussion about leaving the 33-year-old out for the first time this year only ramped up this week.

“He’s done a wonderful job this year, so it’s a good opportunity for him (to rest), but also a good opportunity for someone else to come in and play hard,” Knights said.

Twitter: @tom_king79
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