GEELONG is leaving the door ajar for Jack Steven to make his debut for the Cats after overcoming last month's stabbing.
The AFL on Monday cleared Steven of any wrongdoing in the incident after the 30-year-old admitted himself to a Melbourne hospital on May 17 with a stab wound to his chest.
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The former Saint has returned to training but Cats coach Chris Scott said the club was still deciding whether to play Steven on Friday night against Hawthorn at GMHBA Stadium.
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"Jack could play, I haven't got any great doubt about that, but it's just about whether that's the prudent thing for him longer term. We're still in the process of working that through," Scott said on Tuesday morning ahead of training.
"If he gets through the session then we're still open-minded, but if he has some issues then it probably rules him out. I'm very confident he'll get through the session really well and put his hand up to play.
"It's just a matter of whether we push a button on it. I think if we don't play him we're being conservative, but that's OK."
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The Cats have ruled out Jake Kolodjashnij (hip) against the Hawks while recruit Josh Jenkins will also be unavailable due to a back complaint.
However, Geelong will have Brandan Parfitt back, and Scott said his side was far better prepared for the season resumption than round one, when the Cats lost to Greater Western Sydney by 32 points.
"We're in better shape than we were then," he said.
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"We obviously don't lay out our deepest, darkest feelings before every game, but now that we're 12 weeks down the track, we were clearly underdone going into round one.
"Some of those players who made it to the line but weren't quite at their best will be better for the extra couple of months of training."
The clash will be superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield's 250th game of his stellar career.