Fake grass no worry for Cats’ Blicavs

Geelong midfielder Mark Blicavs doesn’t have any qualms about the artificial turf at Etihad Stadium despite Daniel Menzel’s run-in with fake grass at the weekend.

The AFL have asked Etihad Stadium to conduct tests on the turf after the Cats’ Menzel claimed it contributed to his ankle injury in last week’s win over North Melbourne.

Scans have confirmed Menzel suffered a ligament sprain, which puts him in doubt for Saturday night’s top-four showdown with the Western Bulldogs at the same venue.

The artificial turf is ringed around the Etihad Stadium boundary, but Blicavs says he’s not concerned about injuring himself on it.

“It doesn’t worry me,” Blicavs said on Wednesday.

“I haven’t had much dealings with it at all. I don’t run fast enough to get over the boundary line like that.

“I’m sure (the AFL is) having a chat about it and working through all the logistics of the oval.”

Saturday night’s clash could play a vital role in shaping the top-two or top-four hopes of both sides.

The Cats sit in second spot with a 9-3 record, while the fourth-place Bulldogs trail them only by percentage.

Geelong’s premiership credentials were put under the spotlight a fortnight ago following shock losses to Collingwood and Carlton.

But wins over flag contenders GWS and North Melbourne during the past two weeks have put their season back on track.

Blicavs played a crucial part in both wins.

And the 198cm utility revealed his poor display against Carlton three weeks ago proved to be the kick in the backside he needed.

Blicavs tallied just nine disposals in that match, failing to pick up a possession in the second half as Carlton held on for a 19-point win.

Since then, Blicavs has tried to be a more attacking threat, relishing the chance to play as a midfielder rather than a ruckman.

“I suppose it did wake me up a little bit,” Blicavs said of his display against Carlton.

“I just went through a few things, and had a few chats with Harry Taylor.

“He’s a big mentor of mine so I had a coffee with him and spoke about a few goals leading into the GWS and North game, and for the next couple of weeks before the bye.”

With Rhys Stanley and Zac Smith shouldering the bulk of the ruck work, Blicavs says his body has been pulling up fresher while playing predominantly as a big-bodied midfielder.

“It gives me a licence to roam around a bit more,” Blicavs said.

“I’m feeling a lot more freer out there. I’m not as sore in the shins.”

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