By Luke Voogt
Geelong Cats will face in-form midfielders Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish when they take on Essendon at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night.
“Parish is having a bit of a breakout year getting a bit more on-ball time,” Cats coach Chris Scott told a press conference on Wednesday.
“And they’re a pretty dynamic group in there as well, with [Sam] Draper in the ruck helping a lot.”
But Scott said the Cats would focus first on getting their own midfield right, rather than tagging opposition players, following a “collective poor performance” against Brisbane Lions last Thursday.
“It can be a little overplayed, the one-on-one matchups. We focus a bit more on ‘how’s our midfield going to go against theirs?’ and work out what the right balance for us is first,” he said.
“Then it’s very much a secondary thing, ‘what do we have to take away from them?’”
Further up the ground, unconventional forward Grien Myers looks ready to return to the senior side after playing a second consecutive game in the reserves last week following his return from a leg fracture
“He’s got a different set of skills to our other forwards in particular,” Scott said.
“He’s a smart player [with] great goal sense and he’s an elite runner, and when you take elite runners out of your team, it always has a bit of an impact.
“So we’re looking forward to getting some of those things back from him.”
Talented young midfielder Quinton Narkle continues to knock loudly on the door for selection too.
“We’re not going to leave him out of our 22 for too long, that’s for sure,” Scott said.
“I’d love to have him in the team and never have him go out again for a decade, but it’s not that simple. He’s going to play a lot of AFL footy for us.”
Fellow young midfield talent Charlie Constable is also pressing his case for selection with 43 disposals and a goal against Brisbane’s reserves side last week.
“He continually does the right thing outside of the games and then performs well in the games when he gets his chance,” Scott said.
But speedster Jordan Clark will miss the chance to play in Friday night’s game after injuring his AC joint in a heavy collision during the third quarter of the reserves.
The shoulder injury will sideline Clark for several weeks.
Meanwhile, Scott threw his support behind plans to condense the next few rounds of the AFL season given the worsening COVID-19 situation in New South Wales.
“We’re up for it if the AFL is, but I think it’s incumbent on everyone to put self-interest aside and get through this as best we can,” Scott said.
“I think there are bigger issues than a little bit of inconvenience and I suspect we’re going to go through a little bit more.
“Our role, as far as we see it is to, one, ask the AFL what they need from us, and two, fight as hard as we can to get those things done.
“All clubs are going to have to adapt as best as possible and we’re more than willing to do our bit in that respect.”
Scott also stated his support for more games to be played at GMHBA Stadium each year, with sixth-placed Sydney to take on seventh-placed West Coast at the venue on Sunday due to the COVID-19 situation.
“I’m really looking forward to watching the game and I’m hoping the people in the region are as well,” he said.