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'Watch me next week,' Cats champ tells coach

Gary Ablett has spent much of the season on the sidelines - AFL,Geelong Cats,Chris Scott,Gary Ablett
Gary Ablett has spent much of the season on the sidelines

AFTER a below-average performance by his lofty standards, Geelong superstar Gary Ablett has told coach Chris Scott to "watch me next week".

Ablett will play at GMHBA Stadium for the first time since his return to the Cats, against Carlton on Saturday night, and is intent on a better performance.

He had 17 disposals, one mark, one tackle and one clearance in the Cats' shock 34-point loss to Essendon.

"Our senior players were quite strong with me, they said 'don't defend us, don't defend that performance’, " Scott said on Fox Footy on Monday night.

"Gary was pretty upfront, I thought, he said 'I didn't play well, but it was one game. Watch me next week’.

"It was his second game back for us (from a hamstring injury).

"Last week was the first week of the year we'd played with (Joel) Selwood, (Patrick) Dangerfield, (Mitch) Duncan, (Tim) Kelly and Ablett all in the same team. The short answer is yes, we are nursing some back a little bit.”

Scott conceded Geelong had still not worked out where Ablett's best position for the team is.

"It's a decision in progress. We had some ideas coming in and watching him in pre-season made us a little firmer on some ideas and we moved away from others, " he said.

"He's had an affected pre-season and preparation in-season with his hamstring, so we're not exactly sure where he's going to play. How well he plays will, in part, dictate where he plays."

Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield played as a back-up ruckman in centre square bounces at times against Essendon, but with the imminent return of Esava Ratugolea from a one-week break means that experiment is unlikely to be seen again.

"[It won't happen] if he keeps giving away free kicks," Scott said, tongue-in-cheek.

"We went into the game without Ratugolea and anyone who watches Richmond play regularly would see that all the time with (Shaun) Grigg.

"It's not our go-to, I'm quite happy to say to [Carlton coach Brendon Bolton] he won't see that too much this week."

 

Meanwhile, forward Daniel Menzel could be set for an extended period on the sidelines as he recovers from a groin complaint.

The 26-year-old has already missed four games after reacting to an injection meant to ease the injury but has now forecast a possible return around finals.

"It was something that we did to help my body and it just didn't react the way we liked," Menzel told Channel 9.

"It's a really tough one because we didn't know how it would react and it didn't go the way we'd like. Hindsight's a wonderful thing.

"As long as the boys keep winning and be up there, I just have to get my body right and hopefully get right for finals."