ASSISTANT coach Matthew Scarlett has named key defensive prospect Blake Schlensog as one of the shining lights of the Cats’ pre-season.

Schlensog joined the Cats at the conclusion of the 2018 draft, coming on board as a Category B Rookie from the Cats' Next Generation Academy.

The 198cm tall made rapid improvements in his draft year, going from spending time landscaping Chris Scott’s property to a genuine AFL prospect.

That rapid improvement is a trend he’s continued in his second pre-season after finding his feet at VFL level in 2019.

“He’s improved a lot, he’s been fantastic this pre-season. His body shape has changed and he’s been one of the standouts of the preseason,” Scarlett says.

“He’s defending quite strongly but he’s reading the play and intercepting the footy as well. He uses the ball quite well when he gets it so he’s doing a lot right at the moment.”

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Pre-season update: Scarlett

Matthew Scarlett updates us on the progress of his backline.

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The former Geelong Falcon and Indigenous talent has plenty of season veteran talent ahead of him in the Cats’ key defensive stocks, but is rapidly making ground on his peers.

“It would be nice if we could sneak him into a game in the preseason comp, hopefully we can but he’s going really well,” Scarlett says.

“He’s a big boy… he’s massive. He’s a genuine key position player. It’s good to have some depth in that area.” 

Fellow defender Tom Stewart has also noticed the change in Schlensog after his first season in the league.

“Blake’s been fantastic, he probably came in last year not really knowing what a professional environment was, but he’s gone from a really raw young kid into a professional athlete,”

He’s really strong overhead and he follows up really well so he’s just continuing to grow and improve as a player.

As a person as well he’s really come out of his shell and he’s having a good time amongst the group.