The Cats head into the “unknown”, having not had time for a major training session but Scott, who flew regularly as a player with Brisbane and as an assistant coach at Fremantle, said he would not use travel as an excuse.
“It’s a logistical stone in your shoe rather than a considerable performance issue. I played 14 years up in Queensland, I know it’s a little bit different to the Perth trip, but I had three years there [in Perth] as an assistant, using travel as an excuse is one of the great furphies in footy,” he said.
“Yeah, it is a little bit annoying … but if we don’t play well on Wednesday night, I will be the last person saying it was because we had to fly back from Perth. Give me a break.”
Selwood strained a hamstring early in the Cats’ loss to Collingwood at Optus Stadium in round seven but ran smoothly at training on Tuesday.
“I suspect he could have played on Saturday, which always had me optimistic that he would be okay for the Wednesday game,” Scott said.
The Cats were without front-line ruckmen Stanley and Darcy Fort (foot) against the Eagles, and could only watch as Eagle Nic Naitanui dominated the makeshift combination of Ratugolea and Mark Blicavs. The Cats have struggled to score from centre clearances but have Stanley back in time to handle imposing Kangaroo Todd Goldstein.
“The ruck position seems to be pretty crucial most weeks. There are some good ones out there and we will really respect Goldstein, too,” Scott said.
“I think it is likely that Stanley will play, which will be really good for us. We have confidence we have depth there but once we move past Fort and Stanley, we are tending to play guys who we think play in the ruck as their secondary position.”
Stanley’s inclusion will mean Blicavs will return to a defence that already has talls Lachie Henderson and Harry Taylor but Scott said he was confident the Cats also had “enough flexibility and agility back there with our medium-sizers”.
Gary Ablett continues to train three times a week in Geelong, having returned home to be with his family and young son Levi, who has been diagnosed with a rare degenerative condition. Ablett’s wife Jordan is also caring for her ill mother. Ablett has been training with former premiership teammate Andrew Mackie but no date has been set for his return, where he will require a 14-day quarantine in Queensland.
“There is nothing negative to report. What we said initially was that he needed to prioritise his private life. We are still optimistic he will play footy towards the end of the season but I haven’t seen or heard anything that changes that,” Scott said.
The Cats had only one win in their three matches in Perth but Scott felt his team emerged “more optimistic about our chances this season than otherwise”.
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.