GEELONG coach Chris Scott has provided a glimpse into how his tantalising forward 50 will set up for round one when Jeremy Cameron partners Tom Hawkins for the first time.
Speaking to AFL.com.au, Scott insisted the Cats would play to Cameron and Hawkins' strengths with the pair combining for the last two Coleman Medals.
"I think about it all the time … it makes me laugh when people say, 'Have you allowed yourself to think about it?' I'm trying not to think about it," Scott said.
"I'm a big advocate of Tom Hawkins as a deep forward, I think he's a real handful there.
"He can be a little bit difficult to coach because he's too honest in a way, he wants to get up the ground and help our team defend.
"(But) he does feel he's a better player when he can get on the move to an extent.
"Jeremy's got those capabilities to get up the ground and almost play as a high forward permanently but we don't want to take away from his strengths and have him not getting the ball kicked to him inside 50.
"The easy answer is they'll share it (deep role) a little bit, but I don't see any reason why the two of them can't play very similar roles to the ones that they've played in previous years, albeit in different teams."
Cameron will get the chance to build match fitness alongside Hawkins in pre-season hitouts against Collingwood and Essendon in coming weeks.
And while his preparations have increased this week after a January hamstring strain, it leaves the former Giant with just four weeks to work with Hawkins ahead of facing Adelaide in the March 21 season-opener.
"We'd always like more (time to prepare) and I think it's something that's going to evolve over the next couple of years," Scott said.
"We're optimistic the two of them, along with others, can form a synergy but we're not putting a deadline on it that they need to make it work perfectly by round one.
"I think it's reasonable to say our plan is for Tom and Jeremy to be the mainstays in our forward line. We'd like them to have a little bit more time together, but I can say the early signs are good."
Developing tall Esava Ratugolea has spent more time focusing on his ruck craft this summer, Scott bullish on the 22-year-old challenging Rhys Stanley for ruck minutes while also offering an option in attack.
"I think that's something that we've thought about over the years with 'Sav'," Scott said on the prospect of Ratugolea, who played 12 of 21 games last year, rucking more in 2021.
"That question, 'Could he develop into a player who's more a ruckman than forward?'
"I suspect that's underrating the capacity he has a key forward; we see him than much more than just a Hawkins replacement.
"We see him as someone who can play alongside Tom and Jeremy in the next few years and then when Tom goes, take over that mantle as potentially your No.1 target. And those guys that can also help out in the ruck become extremely valuable players.
"My cards are on the table with Esava. I'm a big fan, I think he's nowhere near his capacity but given the preparation he's had, he's given himself a big chance to show people what he can really do."
Pending his recovery from a persistent groin injury, Patrick Dangerfield is expected to play more midfield minutes in 2021, with Mark Blicavs preparing to return to a permanent