GEELONG coach Chris Scott has played down any tension between his club and Fremantle after star Cat Steve Johnson landed a 'love-tap' on Hayden Ballantyne that could be scrutinised by the Match Review Panel.

Johnson made contact to Ballantyne's midriff with his forearm, leaving the Fremantle forward hunched over for several moments in the second half of Saturday's NAB Cup clash at Patersons Stadium.

While contact did not appear forceful, Johnson has 80 carryover points after he served a one-match suspension for rough conduct against Sydney Swans midfielder Dan Hannebery in round 23 last season.    

There is history between Ballantyne and the Cats after a spiteful round one meeting last year, which saw Geelong defender Matthew Scarlett suspended for three weeks for striking him.

Ballantyne was also suspended for two weeks for striking Cats veteran Paul Chapman in the same match, but Scott denied there was still tension between the sides.

"I'd be amazed … there tends to not be too much friction [in] NAB [Cup round] one," Scott said post-match, which Fremantle won by 18 points.

"I didn't really see what happened. I know he (Ballantyne) was down for a long time, but I was more concerned with how quickly he got up and set up the next goal.

"He didn't look too bad, did he?"

Geelong fought back from 21 points down to win its first shortened match against West Coast by two points, with captain Joel Selwood kicking a last-minute supergoal to seal the win.

Small forward Mathew Stokes was forced from the ground early in the second half after injuring his right ankle in a heavy tackle, and Scott said the early diagnosis was unclear.
"It doesn't look great at the moment," he said.  

"With those sorts of things they can blow up and be sore for a few days and come good really quickly.

"While it's hard to say, if we had a game on next week he wouldn’t play."

Third-year midfielder George Horlin-Smith was the Cats' leading ball-winner against West Coast with 11 disposals, and Scott said he was likely to play the entire NAB Cup.   

"He's in a group of players fighting for a spot in the early rounds in our AFL team," Scott said.

"It's been hard at times at Geelong for young players to get opportunities, but we think we're coming into a period where there should be some pretty good opportunities for guys like George.

"We're going to give him every opportunity."

Scott said Chapman, Andrew Mackie and James Kelly would all return for the Cats' next pre-season game, against Adelaide in Geelong.  

He said the club was prepared to play more of its senior players early in the pre-season after holding them back leading into the 2012 campaign.  

Johnson, Selwood, Joel Corey, Corey Enright, Harry Taylor and Travis Varcoe all played on Saturday.

"I think that's a good thing this year compared to last," Scott said.  

"We waited a little bit later to play our senior players last year, and on reflection I don't think that was the right thing to do.

"I think we'll be better placed for the early rounds this season."

Nathan Schmook is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Nathan