TO THIS point in his career, Mark Blicavs has been an everywhere man. 

Since making his AFL debut in 2013, he has played in the ruck, on the wing and has even spent brief periods as a key forward and key defender. 

But if Blicavs' recent training performances prove to be a reliable guide, he seems likely to find himself in the backline more often than not this year. 

The 198cm big man, who will turn 24 on the eve of the home and away season, has spent much of the summer under the tutelage of two-time All Australian defender Harry Taylor and defensive coach Dale Amos. 

In the match-practice drills, he has been testing his much-improved defensive skills against key forwards Tom Hawkins, Mitch Clark and Josh Walker. 

He has even matched up against medium-sized forwards like Jordan Murdoch. 

"I’ve just been trying to get some continuity with my training, and have been trying to get settled in one position," Blicavs told 

"The work we've been doing is a bit different to what I've done before. 

"But I've been feeling really comfortable since the Christmas break with my movement and positioning and learning how to play as a defender. So it's going all right." 

Blicavs enjoyed his first taste of life as a key defender last season. 

He filled in for Tom Lonergan during the Cats' win over North Melbourne in round 10 after Lonergan was subbed out early on due to concussion.

He also had a stint as a key defender in Geelong's disappointing loss to the Sydney Swans the following week. 

"I didn't mind it," Blicavs said. "I quite enjoyed it, and I'm happy to play whatever role the coaches need to play." 

Even though he appears set to spend a lot more time in the backline this season, Blicavs is likely to remain one of the Cats' most versatile players. 

"There's been a bit of talk about me playing through the midfield and even up forward as well," he said. "So I've just got to go into the season with an open mind. 

"I'll be getting thrown around in all positions at times this year, which I'm happy to do, so as long as I know my role it will be fine." 

Having arrived at Geelong weighing 87kgs, Blicavs is now a far more imposing figure. 

"Harry Taylor and I have been focussing on our weights during the pre-season," he said. 

"I've been trying to hit 100 kilos. I think I've got to 99.5, so I'm nearly there, although I'll probably play a couple of kilos lighter than that. 

"It's a big difference from when I first switched from athletics to football. But I needed that extra weight to be physical and strong in contests. 

"I've been training against Mitch Clark and Tom Hawkins, who are big boys. You can't let yourself be thrown around by those boys and I'm not, which is very positive. 

"I've been feeling really fit in the footy match-play drills we've been doing. That footy-specific fitness is coming along really well." 

Nevertheless, Blicavs' aerobic fitness remains very good. He won a time-trial on Monday, and his coaches believe he can take his game to another level this year. 

"He'll be versatile like he has been in the past," Amos said. "But he's improved dramatically as a defender. 

"I think it's been good for Mark to have that continuity when it comes to preparing to play in the same position for a period of time." 

In recent months, many pundits have questioned whether Geelong can this year make a ninth consecutive appearance in the finals. 

Blicavs is very confident that it will happen. 

"We've had a few changes around the club, with some staff and players coming and going," he said. 

"There's a really good feel here at the moment. The whole place feels freshened up. 

"I'm sure every team is doing something different to try and get an edge, so until we start playing games we don't really know where we sit. 

"But we're all feeling good and looking forward to the year ahead."