GEELONG looks set to again tinker with its structure as power forward Esava Ratugolea prepares to return for Friday night's top-four clash with Port Adelaide.
Ratugolea has sat out the Cats' past two wins over North Melbourne and St Kilda, allowing Patrick Dangerfield to play as a key target alongside Coleman Medal leader Tom Hawkins.
However, despite Geelong booting two of its three highest scores for the season without Ratugolea, coach Chris Scott believes his side is better with the 22-year-old in it.
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"There's been some positivity that's come out of that structure (one tall forward), but not so much that it trumps having another really good strong key forward and Ratugolea has been really good for us in his own right and also has the potential to be exceptional," Scott said on Thursday.
"We haven't seen enough of the structure over the last couple of weeks to think it might be OK without him.
"I think we're a better team with Esava in it."
With Ratugolea to return into attack, he is likely to provide a pinch-hit ruck option for Rhys Stanley which would allow Mark Blicavs to return to defence to tackle Charlie Dixon and could provide an option to rest veterans Harry Taylor or Lachie Henderson.
The clash with the Power will be Geelong's fifth match in 19 days and Scott's side looks set to yet again ring the changes off a four-day break.
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The Cats made five changes into a four-day break to face the Roos and four changes into a five-day turnaround against the Saints.
"I think it's obvious the priorities through the compressed season around player management, readiness, freshness trump what I think's a bit old school in thinking anyway, that you can just reward the guys that played the week before and just pick the team on form," Scott said.
"Modern footy in my view is around having a deep squad and a group of guys capable of getting the job done.
"I think we've gone some way of providing some evidence that's the case with us this year.
"We suspected all along that if we got some better availability than what we had at the start of the season that our squad would run pretty deep."
- Despite some optimism, Nakia Cockatoo won't play against the Power and is unlikely to face Adelaide in round 13 with the Cats still taking a "long-term" view with his fitness.
- Quinton Narkle (hamstring/illness) and Jordan Clark (shoulder) were in the frame for Friday night after playing minutes in a scratch match last weekend.
- Jack Steven was "50-50" to play after two consecutive games.
- Charlie Constable has been cleared of the concussion he suffered in round nine but won't be selected against the Power.
- There is no concrete timeline on Gary Ablett re-joining his teammates, however the champion will have the chance to fly north ahead of the finals to begin a 14-day quarantine period in Queensland.
- The Cats would again look to "cobble" together a scratch match against Gold Coast's reserves this weekend.
- He hoped his side would receive a boost with a number of players' families joining the group on Thursday after a fortnight quarantining in the AFL transition hub.