HE QUESTIONED his influence in a match-winning five-goal performance against Geelong last year, now Cats coach Chris Scott has conceded Brisbane's Charlie Cameron is the "premier small forward in the competition".
The 2019 Virgin Australia AFL All Australian bagged five goals in the Lions' one-point win over the Cats in round 22, however Scott wasn't convinced he was the difference in the result.
Chris Scott's Cats lost by a point as Charlie Cameron kicked five goals, but Scott didn't seem to think Cameron had a massive influence.— AFL.com.au (@AFLcomau) August 17, 2019
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"I thought he was good late (when he) kicked a couple of goals. I don't think he had a huge influence on the game, but that's my initial reaction," the Cats coach said post-game.
But having kicked 10 goals in his past two outings against the Cats – including five majors as a Crow in the 2018 preliminary final – Cameron will be front of mind for Scott on neutral territory at the SCG on Thursday night.
"I think he's the premier small forward of the competition, I don't think that's really been in doubt," Scott said on Tuesday.
"I made some comments when we played them last which was towards the end of last year that I didn't think he was unstoppable, that's just a statement of fact.
"I rate him very, very highly. All people who know anything about football do.
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"He's not the only threat, that's the part that makes them genuine contenders right at the minute, they're not reliant on any players.
"They've got some absolute stars, (Harris) Andrews as a key back, (Lachie) Neale as a mid, Cameron as a forward but there are lots of others very close to that level."
Jed Bews again appears the likely match-up for Cameron having overcome an ankle injury sustained last week.
"We think he's one of the better match-ups for him around the competition," Scott said.
"There aren't any perfect ones but we've got another couple of guys down there who are developing quite nicely so it won't be just confined to Jed."
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Rhys Stanley (knee) remains at least a week away, while Tom Atkins (ribs) will miss a second consecutive week.
However, Scott said the Cats were continuing to weigh up whether to rest Gary Ablett – who is with the team in Sydney – off a five-day break after playing game 350.
"It's an option for us not to play him this week, we've certainly talked out about, spoken to him but we haven't made that decision yet," Scott said.
Ablett took to social media on Sunday to reveal that his son Levi was fighting a rare and degenerative disease and Scott said the Cats would do anything they could to support Ablett and his family.
"We've put a lot of thought into it," Scott said on Ablett's decision to join his teammates in the hub.
"It's an intensely personal decision for Gary and he's decided to elaborate a little bit publicly on it and really he should be the only spokesperson in regards to his feelings and to an extent his plans.
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"Right at the moment, we're pushing on with a little bit of a loose plan around what his next month-to-six weeks might look like but keeping our options open to change our mind when things happen.
"Clearly it's a difficult time for him and has been for some time but one of the things that's made him a champion over the years in my opinion is his (ability to) compartmentalise these things."
After meeting the Lions, the Cats will fly straight to Perth to begin a minimum three-week stay that will include a clash against Collingwood while serving 14-day quarantine.