Main content

Rare air for Cats, with no changes expected

Saint straightens up, battle of the rucks The Footy Feed team with all the latest news
We've got three or four guys in contention for one or two spots
Chris Scott

GEELONG is expected to go into Saturday's clash against North Melbourne with an unchanged line-up for the first time this year.

After a comprehensive win over Gold Coast last week, coach Chris Scott was excited at the prospect of stability in a line-up that has been struck down by various injuries in 2018.

"There's a strong chance we'll be unchanged for the first time in a long time," Scott said on Thursday.

CATS v ROOS PREVIEW: Who will be the 'great Scott'?

"This is my eighth year at Geelong, we might've been unchanged maybe four or five times and that hasn't been by design, it's just the way the cards have fallen."

It comes as the Cats are set to halve their injury list with Lachie Henderson (knee), Scott Selwood (back) and Cam Guthrie (ankle) in line to return via the VFL on Saturday.

Scott predicts others including Harry Taylor (plantar fascia), Nakia Cockatoo (knee) and Daniel Menzel (groin) could return shortly after the round 14 bye.

Taylor hasn't featured in the past fortnight after a recurrence of the injury that kept him out for six weeks earlier in the year.

"He's probably looking more likely post-bye to be honest," Scott said.

"We won't rule him out for next week… (but) it is starting to get to the stage where you ask the question, 'Is it worth getting a few guys back just for that one game when they're going to have the next week off anyway'?"

Menzel was absent from the early stages of Thursday's main session after an extended warm-up before completing running and ball work.

Scott also hinted that second-year ruckman Ryan Abbott is inching closer to a senior debut as he searches for the perfect combination after Esava Ratugolea's broken ankle.

 

"We're not trying to fudge it, we've got three or four guys in contention for one or two spots if you consider Wylie Buzza as the second ruckman option," he said.

"None of them are shooting the lights out."

Rhys Stanley and Buzza will work in tandem against Roo Todd Goldstein who will be responsible for feeding a Roos midfield in strong form.

Scott admitted All Australian contender Shaun Higgins was in "career-best" form, while his side would need to be wary of Ben Cunnington.

"I can mount an argument to say Cunnington's the best inside player in the comp at the moment," he said. “We can't let him do what he wants, either."

Mark Blicavs will "probably" line-up on Coleman Medal leader Ben Brown which could see former Roo Aaron Black go to Jarrad Waite, pending a return from a calf setback.

Ironically, Waite's arrival at Arden Street limited Black to just three games in 2015 before moving to Geelong as a forward, forced into the back half this season after a string of injuries.

Scott said the Roos' first half of the season, which sees them sitting fifth, had raised some eyebrows.

"I don't think my brother (coach Brad) will be offended if I say that I think they're going better than I expected," he said.

"I think they probably think that as well."