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Defensive dilemma: Cats facing selection squeeze for R1

Tough decisions a 'fortunate position' to be in Nigel Lappin discusses the make-up of Geelong's best side after a strong JLT win over Essendon

GEELONG is no closer to a decision on the formation of its back six ahead of round one's daunting task with Collingwood's dynamic forward line.

With the returning Jamie Elliott to join Jordan De Goey, Jaidyn Stephenson and Josh Thomas, the Cats would seem hard pressed to select all five tall defenders from the 28-point win over Essendon on Thursday night.

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Best and fairest Mark Blicavs (198cm), All Australian Tom Stewart (190) and rising star Jack Henry (191) appear locks.

Meanwhile, veteran Harry Taylor (195) did his chances for selection no harm with 23 disposals against the Bombers, looking to win selection alongside Lachie Henderson (196) and Jake Kolodjoshnij (193) who was managed.

"It's going to be a really tough decision because they all played really well, particularly the talls, I thought they were all fantastic," assistant coach Nigel Lappin said.

"I think against some oppositions we can do it. Whether we do it round one or not I'm not too sure what way we're going to go just at the moment.

"We'll talk about that a lot over the next week."

Jed Bews looks set to be sidelined alongside Zach Tuohy, paving the way for a potential debut for draftee Jordan Clark, who again impressed at half-back. 

Mark O'Connor finds himself as an incumbent from last year's finals exit, while Zach Guthrie is in the mix and brother Cameron a chance to be used in defence.

With the Pies' key talls expected to consist of Mason Cox, Brody Mihocek and potentially one of Tyson Goldsack or Ben Reid, Chris Scott faces a tough call at the selection table.

 

Lappin heaped praise on the pressure from Tom Atkins, Gary Rohan and Luke Dahlhaus against the Bombers with the Cats able to generate "most of our scores off the back of attacking-mid either turnovers or stoppages."

The Lions' triple premiership player also highlighted Gary Ablett's composure with ball in hand in the first look at his new role in attack.

The Cats' pressure up the field led to a quiet night for Bombers spearhead Joe Daniher, who took a nice mark in the last quarter, but failed to kick a goal from 12 possessions.

 

"He was obviously on (restricted) minutes last week (against Carlton) and he played 90 minutes tonight," assistant Paul Corrigan said of Daniher's return from osteitis pubis.

"I was just speaking to him then and he said he's feeling really well.

"It'll be important over the next couple of days to see how he pulls up, we won't rush him, we've got 17 days until (our) round one game, so we can get some more work into him."

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Cale Hooker's calf setback midweek leaves a hole in the Bombers' defence which looked exposed at times against the Cats' talls in Tom Hawkins and Esava Ratugolea.

Corrigan said it provided the chance for a fringe player to stand up in Hooker's absence in the early rounds of the season. 

"It gives opportunity to whether that be a (Jordan) Ridley or an (Aaron Francis), we've got Hurls down there, Patty Ambrose and Harts (Michael Hartley) played well in the VFL today."

The Bombers face the prospect of Jeremy Cameron and Harry Himmelberg when they travel to face Greater Western Sydney in their season-opener.