MIDFIELDER Jack Steven will be made to wait for his Geelong debut as Chris Scott continues to take a conservative approach with his new recruit.
Meanwhile, Scott has conceded Gary Ablett should've been rested earlier than he was in 2019 as the Cats weigh up what shorter quarters mean for the champion's games output in 2020.
IN THE MIX Who's a chance, who's under the pump?
Steven is expected to play in a 16-on-16 scratch match against Carlton on Saturday to build fitness after he was hospitalised last month from a stabbing incident.
Jake Kolodjashnij is also likely to feature in the hitout that will be the curtain-raiser to the AFL clash against the Blues at GMHBA Stadium, while Josh Jenkins (back) will sit out.
It will be the first form of match practice for Steven since the Marsh Community Series in March and for Kolodjashnij since last year's preliminary final due to off-season hip surgery.
"He'll (Steven) play in some capacity this week, I'm happy to say more than likely in that match simulation against Carlton," Scott said.
"Yes, it's a conservative call, but we've got an opportunity for him to get some match practice that he hasn't been able to get for the last three or months."
Nakia Cockatoo will also play minutes in the reserves match, having not play at any level since August last year following persistent hamstring injuries.
However, Jenkins' back issue is proving of an issue than first envisaged.
"It's a facet joint issue that can turn around really quickly or can linger a little bit," Scott said.
"To be honest, it's lingering a bit more than we would've liked right at the moment."
Scott is toying with the prospect of taking an unchanged line-up into the date with the Blues, the Cats enjoying an eight-day break after the 61-point defeat of Hawthorn last Friday night.
While he is a staunch advocate of 16-minute quarters, Scott admits it likely won't change the plan of resting Ablett throughout the season.
"I think it helps him (Ablett) a little bit that the games are shorter, and the season overall is shorter but I'm still of the view that he shouldn't play all 17 games in the home and away season," Scott said.
"That's a bit of a suck it and see thing."
Ablett played 24 of a possible 25 games last year with his only break coming via suspension in round 11.
Scott said he and Ablett weren't on the same page with what AFL.com.au reported at the time as hamstring tightness for the 36-year-old during September.
"I'm happy to say last year if I had my time over again that we would've taken him out before we did. We don't want to overcorrect with our decision-making this year," Scott said.
"I thought he was (carrying a hamstring) to be honest, he says he wasn't.
"His kicking penetration was a little bit down; I didn't think he was at his best physically towards the end of last year.
"Maybe it's the fact he's a proud competitor and he doesn't want to use his physical status as a reason for not playing as well as he'd like to.
"It's a bit of a mystery that one for me but he's a mysterious guy."
Scott also added that second-year speedster Jordan Clark remained in the selection mix after being left out last week in a "very, very tight call."