GEELONG’s non-selected players braved the icy conditions at North Port Oval early on Saturday morning for match simulation against their Melbourne equivalents.
We chatted to VFL head coach Shane O’Bree about how our Cats performed.
Jordan Clark continued to press his case for selection, after confirming last week that he was focused on the bigger picture.
"Clarky played more wing and a little bit of half back. These games are good for a player like him to get the ball in his hand more and make more decisions and execute and work on what he has been at training," O"Bree says.
"He looked really comfortable in the contest this week and broke the game open with his speed and used the ball pretty well by foot.
"He’s a player that we feel is in form and ready if he gets an opportunity."
Lachie Henderson pushed his case for selection after the loss of Tom Stewart and will likely be battling Harry Taylor and Jordan Clark for that spot in defence.
"Hendo, he’s been really working on his game and being proactive in coming forward as a defender," O'Bree says.
"On the weekend with obviously a lot more space to defend with less numbers on the field, he’s doing that really well.
"With his intercept marks it just flows into some nice attack for him. He’s training well and playing well so he’s doing everything right at the moment."
Now considered one of the VFL Cats' experienced defenders, Guthrie has been listed as an emergency since missing out on selection in Round 2.
Will be another Cat putting his hand up to fill the hole left by Stewart.
"Him and Hendo are working really well together as the older guys in defence. Zach is looking really confident with ball in hand, getting more of the ball and going for his marks," O'Bree says.
"We’re really trying to turn him into an intercept mark player and be a bit more proactive and he’s doing that at the moment."
"He’s getting little chunks of time on the wing, we know he can play there too. At this stage we’re just getting him really confident as a high defender or medium-tall defender."
Last year's VFL Best and Fairest continued his ultra-consistent play on the weekend.
"Simmo played wing and inside mid. It was another good game for him, he’s just super consistent with playing his role and understanding what the team needs," O'Bree says.
"The highlight of his game at the moment is his ability to use the ball. His kicking over the last two games has been elite with his decision making."
Ben Jarvis has put together an impressive 2020 thus far, showing he could match it at AFL level in a pre-season inter-club clash with Collingwood.
"Jarvo is looking really dangerous, he’s kicked a number of goals each week and he’s heading in the right direction," O'Bree says.
"Like all the young forwards he’s learning his craft and it’s good to play these types of games where you’ve got heaps of space to work in."
The Cats like their young players to be able to play in multiple positions, meaning the hard-running wingman tried his hand in defence on the weekend.
"Jacob is an elite runner and on the weekend you could see his assets come into play. He got forward and had a few shots on goal and set a few goals up and got plenty of the ball as well," O'Bree says.
"His body is in good shape and he’s in good form as well."
Stephens accompanied Kennerley into defence, continuing his football development from another spot on the ground.
"All of our young guys, we like them to have two or three positions they can play on the ground," O'Bree says.
"Cooper came to the club as an inside mid and we know he can win the contest but being able to play wing and half back is only going to help his cause getting a game in the AFL team."
Constable continues to be around the mark as he waits for an opportunity to present itself in the Cats' deep midfield.
"Chook again racked up a lot of the ball and got to play a bit more outside too, which got him a lot more easy ball," O'Bree says.
Narkle had his first hit-out at Reserves level for quite some time after nine consecutive matches for the AFL side starting in Round 21 of last year.
"Quinton was buzzing around the contest as he usually does and really opened the game up when he got the ball in his hands," O'Bree says.
"He got a lot of Inside 50 kicks for us which ended up being goals."
Fogarty is now back on his feet after an interrupted pre-season.
"Fogarty is so reliable and consistent around the stoppages. His ability to defend his opponent then get the ball in his hand or help a teammate is great," O'Bree says.
"He’s been really working on his kicking and on the weekend his ability to dodge and weave and execute a kick under pressure was really good."
Geelong continues to be ultra conservative with the dynamic Cat after he played his first match against an opposition side two weekends ago.
"Cocky ended up playing three quarters. He got more of the ball and looked more comfortable around the contest with his decisions," O'Bree says.
"We can see Cocky just starting to do those, three, four, five efforts around the contest where he gets the ball, tackles someone and chases someone.
"It shows that he’s getting in a good place with his body and game fitness. We’ve just got to keep adding layers each week with his training loads and playing loads.
"There’s no timeframe on when he’s due back but he’s in a really good spot."
Sam De Koning
The Cats could have a future swingman on their hands with last year's selection 19 in the National Draft showing potential at all key posts.
"We recruited him as a key defender but he’s been playing forward and ruck and he’s grasped them really quickly. He’s a natural footballer," O'Bree says.
"It was good for him to go against Luke Jackson, he’s a very good young ruckman coming through and combined with Blake Schlensog they worked him over pretty well."
The key defender tried his hand in the ruck after Darcy Fort moved into the AFL side to cover an injured Rhys Stanley.
"Blake played a lot of ruck as a junior but both those guys (De Koning and Schlensog), that would have been the most they’ve played in the ruck since they’ve been with us," O'Bree says.
"What we’re liking with both these boys, is once the ball hits the ground their ability to get after it and be clean in the contest.
"Learning their forward craft and being dangerous as a forward is always the hardest as a tall and they’re getting better every week."
Taheny continues to build after his 2020 preparation suffered a setback after the lockdown.
"Cam played nearly the whole game this week. We saw some of his real assets with his speed and his marking and his ability to break lines and his kicking penetration," O'Bree says.
"He’s probably in the same category as Cocky where we’re just trying to get as much game time into him and feel confident with where he’s at with his body."
The Stephen Wells smokey has showed plenty of signs in his two hit-outs against other teams thus far.
"He was really lively. Francis kicked two goals and probably could have kicked four," O'Bree says.
"You could see all the things he did as a junior with his skills inside 50 with marking and ground balls and snaps on goal and being creative really come into play."
The mature-age recruit applies plenty of pressure in the forward half.
"As a high forward and wing, he can run really well so his work rate really helped us," O'Bree says.
"He got a lot more of the ball which and is feeling confident with the ball in hand."
Jake Tarca and Nathan Kreuger
Both Cats missed the weekend's outing due to injury.
"Both those boys should play this week if they get through training. They were both very close on the weekend to playing some game time."
Parsons is right on the cusp of selection after looking a class above against the Carlton Reserves two weekends ago.
Parso is in good form, he was the unlucky one we needed to hold over. He’s still in contention for an AFL game but if not his attitude has been great to come back and play VFL.