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Cats still searching for best forward line setup

Henderson set for defensive post Geelong assistant coach Matthew Scarlett says new recruit Lachie Henderson is being groomed to play predominantly down back
Nathan Vardy could be the Cats' No.2 forward this season - ${keywords}
Nathan Vardy could be the Cats' No.2 forward this season

GEELONG'S forward setup is far from settled with the Cats to use the NAB Challenge to confirm their support options for spearhead Tom Hawkins.

Hawkins is Geelong's focal point inside forward 50, kicking 68 and 46 goals in the past two seasons, but the reliance on the burly forward has been too great.

A calf injury to Mitch Clark, which is likely to keep him out until at least the start of the season, limits the Cats' tall forward options, although they have Nathan Vardy waiting in the wings.

Cats assistant coach Matthew Scarlett told's First Bounce that the make-up of the forward line was still a work in progress.

"The forward line is one area that we're not really settled in at the moment," Scarlett said.

"We've got some exciting small forwards. So we're not really sure how that forward line is going to operate this year so hopefully we get a glimpse tonight."

Vardy is likely to have every opportunity to establish the second tall forward spot as his own, but the 24-year-old's injury history has been an issue.

The ruck/forward has played just 13 games over the past three seasons with serious hip and knee injuries stalling his promising career.

Shane Kersten, who has been completing his running training with the club's midfielders, will come into contention as a third tall.

Mobile forwards Daniel Menzel and Lincoln McCarthy have also impressed through the pre-season and the Cats view them as best 22 players if their bodies can hold up.

Nakia Cockatoo will have stints in the midfield but the club also believes he has the talent to be a dangerous small forward as well.

The Cats open their NAB Challenge campaign with a first-up meeting with Collingwood at Simonds Stadium on Friday night.