A refreshed Patrick Dangerfield is confident his body will allow him to produce his scintillating best for an extended period of the AFL season.
The Geelong superstar was in fine form after returning from two weeks out with a calf injury in the round eight thrashing of GWS, registering 28 disposals and five clearances.
He looms as a potential game-breaker in Saturday's crunch clash with St Kilda at Marvel Stadium as both sides attempt to force their way back into the top four.
"I feel really good, barring a few little hiccups here and there, but (last) weekend I felt fresh," Dangerfield said on Friday.
"It's one of the things that you can't fake.
"This competition is ruthless and the speed and intensity is unique, and you've got to be up for that fight."
Geelong has been open about its plans to rest players throughout the home and away season, in particular its more seasoned campaigners.
Dangerfield, a veteran of 291 games, missed rounds six and seven after copping a cork to a calf muscle that caused bleeding in the same spot he strained in round four.
"I think I've clocked (my rest) in now, so ideally I'd play right through (the season), but I think it's important to make those mature decisions if a player isn't right to go," Dangerfield said.
Fifth-placed Geelong welcomes back captain Joel Selwood (corked quad) and ruckman Rhys Stanley (ankle) against St Kilda, which sits seventh.
Both sides have 5-3 records, one win behind Carlton in fourth spot.
Versatile tall Mark Blicavs rucked well in Stanley's absence against GWS, but the Cats will welcome back their No.1 ruckman for a crucial battle with Saints duo Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall.
"They're an outstanding combination," Dangerfield said.
"Paddy Ryder in the centre bounce is just about as good as it gets at the moment.
"He can put it pretty much anywhere, so we're very cognisant of what he can do, and around the ground they work quite well in tandem.
"Our guys are going to have to be up for the fight there."