K rock Football

Shutdown a blessing: Stanley

Geelong has dropped Rhys Stanley for Sunday’s clash with Sydney at the SCG. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

OVERLOOKED for Geelong’s Round 1 loss to the GWS Giants, Rhys Stanley used the 12-week gap between matches to ensure he was again the club’s No.1 ruckman when the AFL season restarted.

After sharing ruck duties with Darcy Fort during the Marsh Series, when it came to the crunch, the Cats only wanted one of that duo to take on Sam Jacobs, with Fort getting the nod.

Instead of being upset about it, Stanley went to work during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“I definitely had times to think things over and really concentrate on parts of my game I really wanted to work on,” Stanley said ahead of Saturday night’s clash with Carlton at GMHBA Stadium.

“And that follow-up (work) and contested part of my game was definitely part of it. I guess you could call it a bit of a blessing.

“If someone didn’t call it motivation, they would probably be lying a little bit.

“Missing out hurt, so I wanted to perform and earn the spot.”

AT SELECTION: ROUND 3

The challenge, as it has been for the majority of Stanley’s 134-game career with the Cats and St Kilda, is producing each week.

And he said being out-of-contract at the end of 2020 serves as further motivation.

“It’s a little bit of an unstable time with contracts and what our game is going to look like .. salaries all this sort of stuff for next year, it’s all up in the air,” he said.

“I guess it does add a little bit of fuel to the fire in wanting to perform and wanting to earn that spot.”

Stanley’s next challenge is Marc Pittonet, who made his first appearance for the Blues last week after eight matches with Hawthorn.

Pittonet was solid against Max Gawn in last week’s one-point loss to Melbourne, tallying 23 hitouts, 14 disposals and five clearances.

“He’s a good player; I rate him as a ruckman,” Stanley said.

“It’s probably (been) opportunity for him. He’s been sitting with Benny McEvoy (in front of him).

“He’s been at Hawthorn for a while and performed really well at VFL level, so I think it’ll be a big challenge.

“He’s a big strong body, covers the ground pretty well, follows up really well.

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Twitter: @tom_king79