JOEL Selwood and Daniel Menzel are on track to face Hawthorn in a blockbuster Easter Monday clash, even though the star Geelong duo will miss the Cats' final NAB Challenge hit-out against Fremantle.
The Cats have taken almost their strongest available team to Perth for Saturday's clash against a powerful-looking Dockers line-up, in what will be a full dress rehearsal for round one.
Selwood has missed the entire NAB Challenge due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot, but the champion midfielder had an outstanding session on the training track on Thursday and is building towards the Hawks blockbuster.
"Joel trained really strongly yesterday. He had a terrific session, a strong session. He's not traveling with the team this weekend, but it's all progressing really well towards round one," assistant coach Matthew Knights said at Melbourne Airport on Friday.
"That's about where it's at at the moment. He'll look to have another really good week on the training track next week.
"We're looking for him to have another good couple of weeks of training and then we'll make that selection in the last couple of days (before) Hawthorn."
Selwood could play in a VFL practice match next weekend in a bid to gain some match fitness, although that is yet to be confirmed.
"It will just depend on how he trains early next week as well. Based on yesterday's session was fantastic, but a couple of good sessions next week (will help) but I wouldn't say that's a guarantee to happen," Knights said.
Menzel will have missed the final two pre-season games after a strong showing against Collingwood first-up due to a calf niggle, but the forward is looking good to strengthen the Cats' side on Easter Monday.
"Dan's progressing really well, also, he just had a slight hiccup with his calf. We'd expect Dan will train really strongly next week and put his hand up for selection round one – all pending a good training block next week," Knights said.
"We think he'll be fine as well, it was just a minor hiccup that one. Dan did quite well in his game against Collingwood, so we're looking forward to getting Dan back in the mix as well."
The Cats have brought back veteran Andrew Mackie and Jed Bews for the Freo match, with defender Jackson Thurlow among those making way after suffering a ruptured ACL in the belting of Essendon in sweltering conditions in Shepparton last Saturday.
Geelong has 16 days' break between the Dockers match and round one, and stars Patrick Dangerfield, Lachie Henderson, Steven Motlop, Tom Hawkins and Mitch Duncan are set to suit up for their third-straight NAB Challenge games.
Knights said Dangerfield and the Cats were both keen for the superstar recruit to play all three pre-season games in a bid to build chemistry with his new teammates.
Dangerfield will play most of the match against the Dockers, and the former Crow is set to reprise his fascinating head-to-head battle from last year against Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe.
"We've already seen one taste of that. You might see it a little bit during the game, I would imagine," Knights said.
"Both guys are preparing well. I watched Fyfe's last game, he looked outstanding as well, he looks like he's moving freely.
"So I'm sure to see Dangerfield and Fyfe going at it for parts of the game tomorrow would be outstanding, but maybe not all of the game."