Cats’ finals test of ruck ‘experiments’

NEW ROLE: Cats Star-defender Mark Blicavs has been pushed into the ruck in recent weeks. Pictures: Marcel Berens

By Natalee Kerr

The Cats have taken an “open-minded approach” in experimenting with their leading ruckman ahead of finals, according to Geelong coach Chris Scott.

“Where we are right at the moment is we’ve got all of our ruckmen available and all of them have played at AFL level,” Scott told his media conference at Kardinia Park this week.

“We’re pleased that we have options.”

Scott’s comments followed a decision in the last fortnight to move Mark Blicavs into the ruck after the athletic utility had spent the rest of the season in defence.

Blicavs could front up in the centre circle again this weekend, with the Cats’ backline remaining strong despite the re-positioning of Blicavs, Scott said.

“If you take a player like that out of a division it weakens it to an extent but we feel like we’ve got some pretty good options there in that part of the ground,” he said.

“We kept North Melbourne to a goal without Blicavs playing in defence last week … and Brisbane are the number one scoring team in the comp and it was a relatively low scoring game.”

The Cats suffered a heart-stopping one-point loss to the Lions at the Gabba last Saturday.

The top-of-the-table clash saw Geelong lead by 17 points inside the final 10 minutes before the Lions found a late run.

Trailing by four points with 90 seconds remaining, a goal from former Cat Lincoln McCarthy handed the Lions their ninth win-in-a-row.

The result continued Geelong’s trend of alternating wins with losses since the mid-season bye.

But Scott said he was not worried about his side’s form in the past six weeks despite it being “not as consistent” as he would like.

“(Our form is) still good enough to be in the top few teams in the competition based on the ladder,” he said.

“I don’t think through that period we’ve played really badly.”

The loss left Geelong in second place ahead of its final round match against Carlton at Kardinia Park tomorrow.

The Blues are coming off the back of a 10-point victory against St Kilda last week.

Scott suggested his side would steer clear of taking sixteenth-placed Carlton lightly, comparing their transformation to Brisbane’s impressive turnaround this season.

“They’ve been competitive. They’re going to be a handful,” he said.

“I could see their evolution from a bit further out than just this last half of the season… the ladder position doesn’t reflect that.”

A win against the Blues will see the Cats secure a top-two finish and a home qualifying final at the MCG but a loss could see them slip as low as fourth.

The Cats will be without forward Tom Atkins for the clash after he recently underwent hand surgery.

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