By Luke Voogt
Jack Steven is set to miss Geelong’s season opener against Greater Western Sydney, while captain Joel Selwood has been cleared to play.
The new star Cat would be “unlikely” to play after battling a calf injury earlier in the pre-season, Geelong coach Chris Scott said via conference call on Wednesday.
“We’re really happy with what he’ll provide us with longer-term but we just think his preparation has proven to hold back a week with him,” he said.
Steven was one of the Cats’ best in their Marsh Community Series match against Essendon, collecting 26 disposals last Monday.
But Scott said Geelong would be cautious with the recently-traded midfielder, who played only seven matches with St Kilda last year while battling mental health issues.
“He’s coming from a long way back with his preparation, not just this pre-season but the previous 12 months.”
The Cats will play at an empty Giants Stadium on Saturday night with quarters reduced to 16 minutes.
The AFL announced the measures as part of its shortened 17-round season in the wake of coronavirus concerns.
Scott urged his players to keep their heads during the Australia-wide crisis.
“Let’s be prepared as we possibly can be, but agile enough when things change, we can keep calm and focus on what’s important in the moment.”
Geelong had cleared captain Joel Selwood to play despite him not playing any pre-season matches after hamstring tendon surgery in November, the club announced on Wednesday.
In AFLW Geelong Cats have missed out on finals after the AFL scrapped the final two weeks of the season due to the coronavirus crisis.
The Cats women were outside the top three of Conference B after AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announced the decision on Wednesday.
And in local footy AFL Barwon has announced it will postpone all local leagues until May 31.
AFL Barwon also announced the postponement of all training, practice matches, large scale events and gatherings at clubs across the entire region during that time.