DEFENSIVE coach Matthew Scarlett says returning defender Zach Tuohy is hitting his stride as the business end of the season approaches in a welcome boost for the Cats.

Tuohy recorded a season-high 30 disposals and has averaged just over 25 touches in the last three games, giving the Cats a silver lining to Saturday night’s disappointing loss to the Bulldogs.

“Zach played a really good game for us on the weekend. He defended really well and got a lot of the footy for us as well,” Scarlett says.

“Obviously, we need his rebound out of the back half and we thought he did that very well.”

Tuohy missed the first five games of the season after an impressive stretch of 138 consecutive games with the Blues and Cats.

The Irishman hadn’t earned over 20 touches in his first six outings of the season, before breaking that mark twice in his last three matches

“He’s been building his game quite nicely and I felt on the weekend he found the right balance of defence and attack,” Scarlett says.

“He’s a defence first player and he defends really strongly but he’s one of our best rebounding defenders as well.

The veteran of nine AFL seasons will be an important player as Geelong continues its push towards finals football.

“He’s a great leader and a great person first and foremost. The guys really enjoy playing with him.”

He’s a terrific leader, a really good defender and provides a lot of attack off the half back line. He’s just a good all-round person and a good footballer.