Geelong coach Chris Scott is mulling all options, including skipper Joel Selwood spending more time down back, as he attempts to fill the void left by the AFL club’s intercept king Tom Stewart.
Scott conceded Stewart, who hurt his ankle in the Cats’ win over Brisbane last Saturday, is unlikely to face premiership favourites Richmond at the MCG on Friday night.
Stewart leads the Cats in intercepts this season and has been a key cog in their miserly back six, which has conceded a league-best average of 10.3 goals per game this year.
“We do have a few options that we’re working through. I suspect we’ll have a few on game day that we shift too,” Scott told reporters in Geelong.
“It’ll look a little bit different, but our back line has looked different at times this year and still been able to function.
“It’s been observed we played Joel Selwood back a little bit and that’s an option we have up our sleeve.”
Shifting Jack Henry back to defence is another tactic that Scott may use, but the young gun has impressed in attack during recent weeks.
Zach Guthrie, who hasn’t played AFL since the Cats’ loss to Richmond in round 13, headlines the list of options in the VFL.
The Tigers boast one of the most fleet-footed forward lines in the competition, which will also complicate the discussion surrounding Stewart’s replacement.
“I don’t think anybody is looking at them and thinking you need a whole lot of height in your back line. The conditions might play into it a little bit as well,” Scott said.
Harry Taylor isn’t ready to return from a foot injury but Scott remains optimistic the veteran swingman will be back on the park later this season.
“He knows his body really well and has come to understand the issues with his foot better,” Scott said of Taylor, who has managed only five games this year.
Stewart, who the club initially feared would be out for the rest of the season, ran well at Wednesday’s training session and is yet to be formally ruled out.
“l appreciate his optimism,” Scott said.
“He’s very unlikely … but we’ll give him every chance.
“Until he starts – it’s not even running, more changing direction and getting more football-type movement, then it’s a bit hard to say (when Stewart will return).
“It appears as if he’ll get back this year.”