RHYS Stanley says he remains in the dark as to what Geelong’s preferred ruck set-up will be when the 2020 season gets underway.
However, the 29-year-old, who shared the role with Darcy Fort in last week’s Marsh Community Series loss to Gold Coast, is keen to make the No.1 mantle his own.
“I don’t know if I’m trying to prove something, but I want to train my way into that spot,” Stanley said.
“I’ve had a really enjoyable summer, I’ve been able to do more of the pre-season load that I have previously, so that’s pleasing, and I’ve set myself up for a solid year.
“To try and grab that spot is high on the list, and I need to continue to train and play the right way to make that happen.”
With the Cats able to play with a squad of 26, and the forward line featuring Tom Hawkins, Esava Ratugolea and former Adelaide Crow Josh Jenkins, the likelihood of Stanley and Fort being paired together in Round 1 seems unlikely.
“I don’t know, to be honest,” Stanley replied when asked what Geelong’s plan for its big man department was.
“That hasn’t been discussed. We’re just trying to improve individually at the moment and see what happens, but he’s (Fort) had a super pre-season.
“He’s training really well, and we’re pushing each other. We’ll see what happens.”
Stanley says much of the improvement from Fort, who made three appearances last year after being drafted in late 2018, has centred around his athleticism.
“He’s covering a lot of ground; he’s improved his engine and his tank,” he said.
“I know he played a lot of footy forward last year — we had a lot of big guys on the list last year — so his ruck time was down, but he’s had more time in the ruck in the pre-season and the two of us have been going at it.
“So I think his improvement has come just with that continuity of playing in the same position.
“He’s really competitive around the ball, that’s something I’ve noticed.”
While being in the team to play the GWS Giants on March 21 is at the forefront of Stanley’s mind, in the back of it is the fact he is out-of-contract at the end of the season.
“It’s always there; any player that’s out of contract (would think about it),” he said.
“I know it’s cliche and you’ve heard it a million times, but you can only control what you can control, and I need to try and get myself in a position to play regular senior footy.
“I think I finished off the year pretty well last year, my last few games were where I want to be in terms of consistency, so I’ve got to draw from that and make it a regular thing.
“The way I played through the finals has to be the norm for me.”