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Chris Scott press conf 18/5 Hear from Cats coach Chris Scott ahead of our first game at Simonds Stadium in 2017
Scott Selwood will make his first senior appearance for the season against the Bulldogs

Scott Selwood will make his first senior appearance for the season against the Bulldogs

GEELONG will have two significant inclusions for its Friday night showdown against the Western Bulldogs at Simonds Stadium, with key defender Lachie Henderson to return from a rib injury and Scott Selwood to play his first game for the season.

However, Cats coach Chris Scott said ruckman/forward Rhys Stanley was in doubt to play against the Dogs after hurting his knee late in the Cats' 17-point loss to Essendon last Saturday night.

Henderson has missed the past two weeks with a rib complaint he suffered in the warm-up prior to the game against Gold Coast in round seven.

"Lachie will definitely play," Scott said on Thursday.

"It was a really acute thing in his ribs, he got a knock and he had some complications after that."

Selwood suffered inflammation around the sesamoid bone in his big toe late in the pre-season which made him unavailable at the start of the year.

After three games back in the VFL – and a match without any minutes restriction last Saturday – the youngest Selwood is ready to resume.

Selwood had 21 disposals and 10 tackles in his side's VFL loss to Essendon.

"We're really excited to have him back," Scott said.

"He's played enough in the VFL now. He's really fit. We made sure that we took our time and completed a really thorough rehab with him.

"Part of that was to do with his foot but part of it was making sure that he was fit enough to play to his strengths – he's a great runner and a great athlete so there's no point in putting him out at AFL level if he couldn't play to his strengths."

The Cats will play their first game for the year at the redeveloped Simonds Stadium following the completion of the $91 million Brownlow Stand.

Geelong is looking to avoid its fourth consecutive loss when the Bulldogs come to town and Scott said the vibe around the club after moving into the new facilities had already lifted.

"The last few weeks haven't been good to us on the field, but hopefully there's a bit of a spike, which we got walking into the facility as a collective on Monday, will help us that little bit more," Scott said.

Whether Stanley plays or not won't impact Mark Blicavs' spot in the side, with Scott saying the athletic big man would not be dropped for the game against the Bulldogs.

Blicavs has averaged 10.6 disposals and 1.3 tackles over the past three games. 

The Cats' 2015 best and fairest winner had an interrupted pre-season due to knee tendinitis, but Scott has backed Blicavs to find his form quickly. 

"He's been a little bit sore over the last couple of weeks, which is not bad enough to keep him from playing and I don't use that as the major excuse but it has been a bit of an issue," Scott said. 

"I don't know many players more driven than Mark and he's really excited to get back to close to his best this week."