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Host of key Cats on track to return post-bye

We weren't 'composed' or 'clean enough' The Cats coach concedes 'basic skill errors' were the difference between his side and the Tigers
So there's going to be some thinking and some planning that needs to be done to integrate those guys back into the team
Chris Scott

GEELONG could be strengthened by the return of Harry Taylor, Cameron Guthrie, Scott Selwood and Daniel Menzel after its round 14 bye, but coach Chris Scott has cautioned against expecting too much of them after their long spells with injury.

Taylor (plantar fasciitis) played his first match since round nine – and just his fourth for the home and away season – when he returned with Geelong's VFL team against Port Melbourne on Saturday.

For both Guthrie (ankle) and Selwood (back) Saturday's game was their second consecutive match after being sidelined since rounds three and seven respectively, as it was for Lachie Henderson (knee), who has yet to play a senior game this season.

CATS FALL SHORT Full match coverage and stats

"Of the guys who haven't played in the last six to 10 weeks, Cam Guthrie, Harry Taylor and Scott Selwood are probably the three who are in the frame to play in a fortnight (against the Western Bulldogs)," Scott said.

Scott said Menzel hadn't been "quite right" to play in the VFL on Saturday, but did not rule out bringing the mercurial forward straight back into the senior team against the Bulldogs despite him missing the past eight rounds with a groin injury.

"His preparation has been geared towards having him available for AFL selection Friday week," Scott said of Menzel.

"A bit will depend on how he moves over the next fortnight. He'll play footy of some description (next round)."

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Henderson, however, is likely to spend more time in the VFL as the Cats take a conservative approach with his knee rehabilitation.

As important as Taylor, Guthrie, Selwood, Menzel and Henderson are to the Cats, Scott said their integration back into the senior team would have to be carefully planned.

"We're certainly not going to rely on personnel coming back by itself. I think that potentially could help us, but sometimes it's a mistake thinking that guys who have missed 14-15 weeks can come back in and help you straight away," Scott said. 

"So there's going to be some thinking and some planning that needs to be done to integrate those guys back into the team."

WATCH Chris Scott's full post-match media conference

Scott was in positive mood following the Cats' 18-point loss to reigning premier Richmond at the MCG on Sunday, a game in which they had trailed by just one point at three-quarter-time.

The Geelong coach said the contest had turned on some lost contests and basic skill errors early in the last quarter, the worst of which was a Jake Kolodjashnij turnover which led to a Jack Riewoldt goal that kick-started the Tigers' four-goal-to-one term. 

However, Scott stressed he and his coaching group weren't about to "hang" Kolodjashnij for his shanked pass and, equally, were confident they did not have to fundamentally change their game plan in the wake of the loss.

"It's not a game where we're coming away thinking that there were really important parts of our game that didn't stand up," Scott said.

"It was more just some of the fundamentals, some crucial contests, especially early in that last quarter, a couple of basic skills errors, which we shouldn't spend too much time bemoaning.

"In a tight game against a really high-quality opposition that can make the difference.

"(But) we didn't come away from the game thinking we're miles behind the benchmark, we're going to have to tip our game style upside down."