Geelong coach Chris Scott isn’t prepared to declare it a done deal just yet, but chastened midfield star Steven Motlop is set to return for next weekend’s AFL clash against Gold Coast.
Motlop and 2007 Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel were sorely missed on Sunday as the Fremantle on-ball brigade ran amok in the Dockers’ 15.14 (104) to 9.6 (60) victory at Simonds Stadium.
Bartel missed the 44-point loss after being concussed late in the round-one loss to Hawthorn, with the Cats determined to take no risks with their triple premiership star.
Motlop’s absence was due to a club-imposed ban for drinking alcohol three days before the season opener against the Hawks.
“It’s being disingenuous if you say good players go out and it doesn’t hurt you at all,” said Scott.
“But the most important thing to us this week was that we clearly understood what we valued, what we stand for, what our values are, what our non-negotiables are.
“When they’re not adhered to, we have to make a strong statement and respond.
“I’m still bitterly disappointed right now and the loss hurts, but give me that decision over 100 times and we’d make the same one 100 times.”
Scott said the other members of the Geelong coaching staff would be consulted before the 24-year-old Motlop was cleared to return to the team.
“I’m not in the habit of reacting emotionally post games, especially after a poor performance and putting guys on notice,” he said.
“We’ve got to make reasoned decisions and we’ve got the time to think it through and make sure we make the right decisions.
“Motlop still has to prove to us, and he’s done a very good job over the last couple of days of proving to us he’s going to respond the right way, but he’s got to continue to do that before he comes back into the team.”