Freo faces fresh Cats

HE'S BACK: Andrew Mackie trains this week as he prepares to return from injury. 120182 Picture: Reg Ryan

By JOHN VAN KLAVEREN

A FRESHER and fitter Geelong flies west to take on recent nemesis Fremantle at Pattersons Stadium on Saturday evening after enjoying a bye.
Coach Chris Scott said the break enabled players to be put through their full training paces, apart from those on the injury list.
“The break means we will be a bit fresher,” Scot said confidently.
“We’ve been able to dictate our program without too much consideration for how the guys have come off a game, so we haven’t had to modify anything because of that.”
Scott said the coaches had made good use of the bye.
“If you ask the question would we prefer to have played to having the break then we’d take the break.
“But it’s marginal, it’s a one percenter.
“With more byes than in previous years clubs are still working their way through what the best program is for them.
“We feel like we’ve got a pretty good program in place now. We know how our boys probably will respond and will go into the game better than had we played on the weekend.”
Despite his confidence, Scott warned that Fremantle would present a stiff challenge.
“We’ve played okay there. The last couple of years those two Perth sides have tended to be pretty good opposition.
“But we’re going into this one in good shape and fairly confident of the shape our game is in but also aware the opposition are an accomplished team and will present a big challenge.”
The full complement of Geelong’s defence will be restored with the return of Andrew Mackie, who Scott welcomed back.
“If you take out a player of that calibre there tends to be a little bit of a domino effect,” Scott admitted.
“Coaches tend to roll out the cliché that one goes down and you just roll out another one but I don’t really subscribe to that theory.
“Your really good players are hard to replace. You do your best to put in a player who can play that role within the system but your good players are there for a reason.
“Getting him back will have a positive influence on the team and allow others to play more of their core roles.”
Scott backed his group of younger players, some of whom slipped in form over the past two weeks.
“Given we had the bye and had the chance to really manage those guy’s workload and prepare them as well as possible I think that mitigates that risk to some extent.
“We’re really conscious of our inexperienced players and giving them the best chance to play well at AFL level.
“We go in, in really good shape, good personnel, well rested, well prepared, ready to play our best.”

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