GEELONG expects to run against a harder and faster St Kilda this weekend when the Saints face a Cats side under an injury cloud in the opening AFL round for 2011.
Geelong coach Chris Scott said St Kilda would field a much-different line-up to the team the Cats played during the pre-season competition.
“We expect (St Kilda) to fight exceptionally hard for the contested ball and expect them to defend well,” he said.
“The battle in and around the ball will determine the outcome of the game.
“It’s a long season. I think it will take time to get where we need to be but no team is where they want to be in round one.”
Scott confirmed key forward James Podsiadly would miss the season opener but left hope for the return of Paul Chapman and injured captain Cameron Ling.
He anticipated that Podsiadly would return for the round-two clash against Fremantle at Subiaco.
The club would punt on older players in favour of under-performing youngsters as it vied for a return to premiership glory in 2011,” Scott said.
“The data tells us it’s hard but that’s not news to us.
“That’s what we’re all about – we need to create our own history.”
Scott said no debutante palyers would appear for the Cats this weekend, although Taylor Hunt and Mitch Duncan were chances for a trial despite playing less than 10 AFL games.
He conceded the round-two match in Western Australia would be in the back of his mind this weekend but assured fans the travel plans would have no impact against the Saints.
Steven Motlop was still battling injury demons and would miss the first match alongside Shannon Burns and Mitch Brown, Scott said.
The Cats play the Saints at the MCG this Friday night.
Geelong lost to St Kilda in their last home-and-away-season encounter by four points in September.