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Ruck battle remains open

March 6, 2020 5:55 pm in by
Darcy Fort celebrates his first AFL goals with Geelong teammate Cam Guthrie. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

DARCY Fort or Rhys Stanley?

Geelong’s final pre-season hit-out against Essendon looms as a “ruck-off” between the pair ahead of the Round 1 clash with GWS Giants on March 21.

Stanley has been the Cats’ No.1 big man for much of the last two years, but still spent periods in the VFL.

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Fort, who was drafted as a 25-year-old at the end of 2018, managed three AFL games.

But with Ryan Abbott, Zac Smith and Wylie Buzza on the list last year, the South Barwon product played most of the VFL season as a forward.

“They’ve been pretty close in their training form,” assistant coach Matthew Knights said.

“They’ve been going pretty hard at each other on the training track, and I guess, in a sense, they’re still looking to play well to put their name forward for Round 1.

“When we decide whether we’ll play one or two (rucks) will come closer to Round 1. I know GWS have been playing two also up to this point.

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“But, once it gets a bit pointier with the twenty-two sometimes you don’t go that way.

“There’s very much competition on for that ruck spot, no doubt.”

CATS: JACK URGED TO BACK HIS INSTINCTS

Also keen to impress against the Bombers will be Zach Guthrie.

He managed just one match in 2019, giving him a total of 17 in three seasons at GMHBA Stadium.

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The 21-year-old was one of Geelong’s better performers in the loss to Gold Coast a fortnight ago after spending much of the night on the wing.

“He’s done close to 100 per cent of midfield training during the pre-season,” Knights said.

“He put in quite a good performance on the Gold Coast, and he’ll get another opportunity to show what he’s got on the wing against Essendon.

“He’s really pushing hard for Round 1, and it’s great to see young players improving and pushing up for selection because that’s what we need as a club.”

Twitter: @tom_king79

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