The time for talking is over – Stanley

March 6, 2024 1:50 pm in by
Geelong ruck Rhys Stanley in action in the practice match win over Carlton last month. (Jason Borys/Pixled Sports Media)

Anyone paying even the slightest attention to Geelong’s pre-season knows it’s been good.

The unexpected August finish has been widely touched on as beneficial, giving players a chance for a physical and mental refresh.

The health of the list is streets ahead of 12 months ago, and the Cats have produced solid practice match wins over preliminary finalist Carlton and an enthusiastic Essendon.

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However, veteran ruck Rhys Stanley says the focus is now on the home-and-away season, starting with the Round 1 meeting against St Kilda on the night of 16 March, which will mark the official opening of the Joel Selwood Stand.

“All of this talk of a really good pre-season and stuff, at the end of the day, we’ve got to go and play now, and we’ve got to go and prove ourselves against really quality opposition,” Stanley said.

“We can’t have too much to say this early in the year – it’s a really long year.

“So, we’ve got to get to work, put ourselves up amongst the top runners.”


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Stanley, who enters the season on 196 games, is again prepared for another season of discussion on his position in the team.

Right now, it has nothing to do with form. Instead, it’s the emergence of youngster Toby Conway.

The duo shared duties in the clash with the Blues before Stanley went solo against the Bombers, with support from Mark Blicavs and Shannon Neale.

“If you’re not earning the spot, and you get comfortable, I don’t think it’s a great spot to be,” Stanley said.

“I enjoy the challenge; I enjoy training against other competitive players because it brings out the best in your game on the weekend.”

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Stanley says “nothing’s set in stone” regarding Geelong’s approach to using the former Saint and Conway in the same team.

“I think it will be suck (it) and see a little bit whether we play in the same side at some stage,” he said.

“But, the reality of a footy season is it’s a long stint. As a 33-year-old, I’m probably not going to be out there every game, and there’s probably a few of us that are in that same category.

“I wouldn’t expect our older players—our senior players—to try (to) string every game together.

“So, there’ll be times when he’ll come in, and one of us will play.

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“There will be times when we both possibly play with a forward resting or a different mix.

“I think the mix will change week to week. The coaches will play with that, and I think, early on, we’ll flick a few things around and see what sticks.”

X: @krockfootball