GEELONG skipper Joel Selwood appears a lock for the Cats' opening round clash against Hawthorn on Easter Monday, while Daniel Menzel did enough to put himself right in the selection frame in Friday night's VFL practice match against Richmond at Punt Road Oval.
Selwood put in a stellar performance against the Tigers on a wet night in Melbourne, racking up 34 disposals (19 contested), 11 tackles, nine clearances and two goals. Importantly the plantar fasciitis foot issue that hampered his pre-season seems behind him.
The skipper has declared himself a certain starter for round one and another battle with Geelong's modern-day arch rival Hawthorn.
"I'm going to play in the hottest game of the season first up so it's something I'm looking forward to and I'll give it a good crack. I don't want to let my teammates down so I'll make sure I recover up from this one and get right," Selwood said after the game.
"As far as I'm concerned (I'll be playing), but I've got to pass it by the coach first."
Selwood is comfortable his less than ideal preparation will not hinder his chances of playing a full season.
"It's good to be back playing footy. It's been four to five months for me. I haven't done a lot of training but what I have done is enough to feel comfortable and I thought I ran the game out pretty well," he said.
"I feel as though I'm ready to attack the season. I feel fresh and I'm starting to feel healthy. I've still got my footy boots on so that's a good sign.
"It's around the corner now, so I look forward to it."
27 disposals, 16 contested, 9 clearances, 9 tackles, 2 goals for Selwood. And there's still a quarter to go! pic.twitter.com/GYGglmt6AM— Geelong Cats (@GeelongCats) March 18, 2016
Menzel, who has been battling calf soreness, was relatively quiet for much of the game up forward, although he wasn't helped by the weather.
The captain was solid in the first stanza, but caught fire in the second term with a long-range goal across his body from outside 50 in the opening minutes of the quarter. He was already up to 15 disposals at the main break and with two goals to his name.
Selwood's typically ferocious attack on the footy was on display and, not surprisingly, he also won a couple of high-tackle free kicks for good measure.
Menzel, who played an impressive opening NAB Challenge game against Collingwood, is trying to find his best form after four consecutive knee reconstructions over the past five years.
Geelong VFL coach Shane O'Bree believes Menzel has done enough to be selected for round one if the match committee decide to go that way.
"I think Dan did," O'Bree said.
"Whether he gets a game or not I'm not too sure. His touch around the contest looked good and he'll put his hand up for selection."
Richmond forward Liam McBean provided a strong target in the Friday practice match and took a couple of big marks to display his potential.
Midfielder and ex-Cat Taylor Hunt was another Tiger to impress, while Jason Castagna, who was elevated to the senior list during the week, showed off his breakaway ability.
The two teams observed a minute's silence before the game to mark the death of Geelong champion Paul Couch who passed away a fortnight ago. Couch's son Tom took to the field for Richmond in his father's famous No.7 jumper.
Geelong won the match by 31 points.