K rock Football

Jack set to take on former side

Jack Steven in action for Geelong during the Round 3 loss to Carlton. (AFL Photos via Getty Images Image/Daniel Pockett)

GEELONG coach Chris Scott has given Jack Steven the green light to take on his former AFL club for the first time when the Cats meet St Kilda on Monday night.

Both sides are coming off short breaks for the Gabba contest, which will have huge ramifications for their respective top-four hopes.

Steven has struggled for consistency this season after an interrupted preparation for the restart but impressed with 21 disposals on his latest return in a win over North Melbourne on Wednesday.

Scott said the midfielder has recovered well, however, there are still questions over how Steven will confront the emotional side of a game against the club with which he won four best-and-fairest awards in 11 seasons.

“There’s absolutely no ill will towards St Kilda and I suspect they’re the same,” Scott said.

“I don’t know for sure, but that’s my suspicion.

“As much as we say it’s another game, he knows them well.

“Probably there’s a little bit of extra spice there but not malicious spice.”

Steven missed a large part of last season with St Kilda as he dealt with mental health issues before successfully requesting a trade to Geelong.

The 30-year-old was cleared of wrongdoing over an off-field incident in May, when he was stabbed in the chest, and the Cats conceded he was underdone on his return to action in June.

Scott tipped Steven will hit his straps later in the season.

“He’s in a better place but I suspect he’ll be in a better place in four weeks and eight weeks’ time as well,” Scott said.

“There was the obvious incident that Jack had, but much more important than that was the fact that he hadn’t played footy for two years, for reasons that took on greater importance than just getting right for footy.”

Scott has committed to rotating his squad heavily throughout the compressed part of the 2020 fixture and tipped another handful of changes for the St Kilda clash.

Brandon Parfitt, Esava Ratugolea, Jake Kolodjashnij and Gary Rohan were all rested against North Melbourne but will come into calculations to play against the Saints.

(C) AAP 2020