DOUBT surrounds the availability of Geelong power forward Esava Ratugolea for round one after he sustained a finger injury. understands Ratugolea will need to prove his fitness from a dislocated finger to play against Collingwood next Friday night.

The 20-year-old has returned to play both JLT Community Series fixtures this pre-season as the second ruckman behind No.1 Rhys Stanley, after recovering from a broken ankle last year.

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Should Ratugolea be unavailable for the season opener, it could force a reshuffle to the Cats' tall stocks.

While Stanley could play as a more permanent forward, it could pave the way for a debut for mature-age ruckman Darcy Fort or a call up for Wylie Buzza.

Fort and Buzza are set to play in a VFL practice match against Werribee on Friday night.

It may also prompt Chris Scott to throw a defender such as Harry Taylor, Lachie Henderson or Jack Henry into attack.