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Cats cautious with Jack

March 18, 2020 1:45 pm in by

GEELONG says it will take the cautious approach with Jack Steven after all but ruling the former St Kilda star out of Saturday night’s season-opener against the GWS Giants at GIANTS Stadium.

However, captain Joel Selwood (hamstring) and experienced midfielder Mitch Duncan (hip) will both play despite not featuring in either of the Cats’ Marsh Series matches.

Steven impressed in the loss to Essendon on March 9 in his first match after a 2019 season impacted by the Lorne product’s battle with his mental health.

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“He’s coming from a long way back with his preparation, not just this pre-season, but the previous 12 months,” coach Chris Scott said.

“That’s a call we’ve probably decided to make a little bit more pro-actively, which is why I’m even prepared to say that’s the probable outcome on Wednesday, even though we don’t play until Saturday.

“He did enough to indicate he’s OK to play in the game in Colac – he was one of our better players.

“But, we just think discretion is the better part of valour on that one.”

Selwood featured in an intra-club practice match last Saturday, while Duncan got through a VFL practice match against Werribee unscathed.

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Scott is confident Duncan will have an impact despite limited preparation.

“There’s a big difference between players who have 10-12 years training histories, and have been really resilient in terms of what they absolutely need in a pre-season, compared to someone like Jack Steven who has had an interrupted 12-month period or a young player without much training history,” he said.

“We’re really confident that Mitch is ready to go now.

“We anticipate he’ll play better as the year goes on, but we’re not going to make decisions for the short-term around really valuable players like Mitch.

“He’s playing because we’re confident he’s ready.”

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Geelong has a relatively healthy list. However, defender Jake Kolodjashnij is facing at least another month on the sidelines following hip surgery.

“I think if everything proceeded as planned at the moment, he’s still well and truly a month away,” Scott said.

“Which, in our mind, makes it so fluid it’s hard to give a definitive timeframe outside of that.

“But, I wouldn’t be thinking about Jake playing in the next month.”

Twitter: @tom_king79

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