Cats keep ruck options open

August 20, 2019 12:10 pm in by
Geelong ruck Rhys Stanley in action in 2019. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

GEELONG coach Chris Scott acknowledges the Cats are still not in a position to lock in their preferred ruck set-up with just one round to go before the AFL finals.

Rhys Stanley was the go-to man for much of the season before being dropped after the Round 18 loss to Hawthorn.

Zac Smith got the nod for a couple of weeks, only to be a late omission when heavy rain was forecast for the Round 20 clash against North Melbourne.

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Tall utility Mark Blicavs has been the starting ruckman for the past fortnight – a big win over the Kangaroos and a one-point loss to new ladder leaders Brisbane – also without making a compelling case that he is better deployed there than in defence.

So the conversation continues ahead of Saturday’s home clash against Carlton – a club which has Matthew Kreuzer as its undisputed No.1 ruckman whenever he is fit and available.

“I keep saying over and over again that I’m pleased we have options and it will be a little bit dependent on what we prioritise in certain weeks,” Scott told reporters on Tuesday.

“I think it’s clear we’ve got to that stage.

“Some teams will say this is the ruck set-up we’re going with no matter what – where we play, who we play, what the conditions are.

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“That’s not us, and it hasn’t been for quite some time.”

Scott refuted the suggestion that the Cats may have left it too late in the season before again turning to Blicavs, who will be in All-Australian contention this year as a key defender, to step up in the ruck.

“I don’t think we’d have had any more information than we do if we had tried it three or four weeks earlier,” said Scott.

“If the reason was that we just wanted to see it; well, we’ve seen it for two weeks.

“So I would have said that the timing is pretty good.

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“Where we are right at the moment is we have all of our ruckmen available, and all of them have played at AFL level.”

Were the Cats to beat the much-improved Blues at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday they would remain in contention for the minor premiership.

Impressive first-year player Tom Atkins is likely to miss the game after undergoing minor hand surgery.

© AAP 2019