Cats load up against Kangaroos

Small forward Mathew Stokes is "healing quickly" coach James Rahilly says.

Geelong will select a strong squad for its round three NAB pre-season clash with North Melbourne on Saturday at Simonds Stadium.

Forward coach James Rahilly said the squad would be loaded up with senior players as the Cats prepare for a round one Easter Monday blockbuster against Hawthorn.

Rahilly conceded the sides were familiar to each other after their respective coaches, Chris and twin brother Brad Scott organised a pre-season practice match.

“They probably know the ground a bit better now because they probably hadn’t played here for a year or so,” Rahilly said.

“It’s obviously a bit skinnier, so they may try a few different tactics but it was a great hit-out, we got a lot out of it and I’m sure they did as well.

“They’re in form, they haven’t lost a game and I think (Drew) Petrie and (Andrew) Swallow will probably come back in so they’ll probably have a pretty strong side.”

Rahilly admitted he had “been inside the head” of former North Melbourne ruckman Hamish McIntosh, now with the Cats.

“He played in the forward structure so I’ve got a little bit out of that. Just how they go about it, he has given us a little insight which is always handy,” he said.

But Rahilly said despite the familiarity, both sides had held back some of their structural set-ups. “I’m hoping they didn’t get too much from us,” he laughed.

“We have a pretty healthy respect for them. They look set up to have a great year.”

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