By JOHN VAN KLAVEREN
ANY number of similarities exist between lower-ladder foes Geelong and North Melbourne ahead of their round-four clash at Simonds Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Both are coming off close tough games, with injuries to key players and form issues among others.
Geelong escaped with a win over the Suns despite playing well for less than 30 minutes of the game.
The Kangaroos played better than Geelong yet suffered an agonising defeat in a quality match against Port Adelaide.
It presents an interesting juxtaposition between the two: is the confidence gained from an ugly win better than the disappointment of a quality loss?
Cats coach Chris Scott believed his charges’ desperate fight against the Suns would stand them in good stead.
“It was a courageous win,” he said yesterday.
“We didn’t play well for big parts of the game but late in the game when the heat was on our experienced players were good and everyone played their part.
“Lang, Gregory, Cockatoo were all involved and Blicavs certainly played his part.”
Scott said forward Josh Walker, who replaced Tom Hawkins after he withdrew to be with his dying mother, was outstanding.
“He’s a strong chance to hold his spot in the side,” Scott said.
Hawkins would be included in the 25-man squad but the Cats would leave him the decision on whether he played.
Scott admitted the team would have a different look this week but he had a “big mix” of players to cover missing midfielders Jimmy Bartel (knee) and Mathew Stokes (Achilles).
James Kelly could find himself spending more time in the middle.
Geelong needs a boost from mercurial veteran Steve Johnson, who had one of his poorest games ever for the Cats last week.
Hard nut Josh Caddy is also primed for an improved performance.
Scott paid tribute to Kangaroo big man Todd Goldstein as the leading ruckman in the competition at the moment.
But Scott said he was happy with the ruck job of recruit Rhys Stanley, with assistance from forward Mitch Clark and swingman Mark Blicavs.
“We’ve got a few plans in mind,” Scott said.