BIG man Darcy Fort, first draft pick Jordan Clark and rookie Tom Atkins have travelled with the Geelong team to Perth for Friday’s JLT Series clash with reigning premier West Coast at Leederville Oval.
The 25-year-old, who started his football journey at South Barwon, was taken with pick No.65 in November’s National Draft after impressing with SANFL club Central Districts.
“With Zac Smith hurting himself recently, it’s opened the door for ‘Forty’ to have a look,” assistant coach Nigel Lappin said.
“He’s been super impressive throughout the pre-season. He’s a really competitive big guy, he loves the contest, his follow-up work, he prides himself on that, and he can catch it when he goes forward.
“We’re looking forward to what he can bring.”
Lappin said the inclusion of Fort and return from injury of youngster Esava Ratugolea provides Geelong with some flexibility in the big man department.
“Rhys Stanley had a really good backend of the year last year, so we’re excited about what he can produce consistently this year,” Lappin said.
“It’s nice to have some competitive big blokes on your list that are fit and healthy.
“Rhys and Esava will do a fair bit of the work early on in the match; then we’ll bring Darcy in to do a little bit of the work and a bit of the lifting late in the game.”
Clark, who the Cats claimed with pick No.15 from Western Australia, has impressed during his maiden pre-season despite suffering from glandular fever late last year.
“He’s a terrific young person, firstly,” Lappin said.
“(His) football ability (will) do the talking. He’s a really talented young boy, smart, understands the game really well; a really good decision-maker.
“And I know he’s really looking forward to playing against West Coast, a team he’s admired growing up.
“He’s done enough training to make himself available for the early rounds of the year, and it’ll be up to his form the next couple of weeks.
“We certainly think he’ll be in contention.”
Off-season recruits Luke Dahlhaus (Western Bulldogs) and Gary Rohan (Sydney) have also made the trip, along with captain Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield, Harry Taylor and the uncapped Charlie Constable.
Sam Menegola, who underwent off-season knee surgery, is also set to take on the Eagles.
Veteran Gary Ablett is expected to line-up against Essendon next week.