K rock Football

Stanley set for stint on sideline

Geelong ruck Rhys Stanley in action in 2019. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

GEELONG is preparing to be without Rhys Stanley for several weeks after spraining his medial ligament in last Saturday’s shock loss to Carlton.

Coach Chris Scott is hopeful he only misses Sunday’s clash with Melbourne.

“But the likely outcome is that it will be weeks,” Scott said.

“Maybe, on the really optimistic end, it’s just this week … after that, we’re not so sure.

“At the other end of the spectrum, we’re very, very confident it’s not a long-term thing.

“Where that fits in the middle, we’re not too sure.

Darcy Fort, who played in the Round 1 loss to the GWS Giants on March 21 is the logical replacement for Stanley.

However, Scott hasn’t ruled out Esava Ratugolea taking the role after a solid final quarter performance against the Blues.

“We always thought that Esava would grow into at least having the option up his sleeve of just being a ruckman,” Scott said.

“Actually, that’s not true; he’d never just be a ruckman because he’s such a competent forward.

“But, he’s a developing player in every sense of the word, and really trying to develop in two positions that are hard to play.

“If we chose to play Esava at some stage as our No.1 ruckman, we’d go in with confidence.”

Scott also didn’t put a line through All-Australian defender Mark Blicavs playing the role.

“‘Blitz’ could play a number of positions,” Scott said. “It’s more a question of us saying “bring the balance back to what’s best for Mark” because he’s go-to is “what’s best for the team?” – he’ll play any role.

“He could play on-ball, he could play in the ruck, he could play on the wing, play forward or back.

“This is going to be an unusual year where we’re going to have to stay flexible with our planning.

“The plan was to play him back virtually all the time, but if the team needs dictate he’s got to move, then we’ll do it.”

Scott is confident Luke Dahlhaus (concussion) and Sam Menegola (back) will take their place against the Demons.

He also indicated Jake Kolodjashnij is closing in on an AFL return from hip surgery after getting through match practice against Carlton last week.

“This is the hard part – no one in the competition’s had a lot of match practise over the last 12 or 13 weeks, so, to an extent, everyone’s in the same boat,” Scott said.

“What Jake has done is get a lot of training under his belt.

“In a perfect world, we have guys have a lot of match practice and come in (to the team) when we’re absolutely certain that they’re ready.

“But no one has that luxury.”

Twitter: @tom_king79