Mercurial Geelong midfielder Steven Motlop still has the backing of coach Chris Scott despite his inconsistent AFL season to date.
The 25-year-old appeared on the verge of attaining elite status entering his seventh AFL season but has instead been criticised for his uneven performances.
However, Scott doesn’t believe Motlop’s position in the side deserves to be seriously questioned just yet.
“Everyone’s position is in question if the performances aren’t there … what he’s been is inconsistent,” Scott said.
“If it had been a long period of poor performance then he wouldn’t be in the team.”
Motlop hasn’t managed more than 15 possessions in any of the Cats’ last three losses – all to teams outside the eight.
“He’s played some very good footy this year, but what he seems to be for us is a player that when he plays well has a big impact on the result,” Scott added.
“So we’ve had a couple of poor performances collectively where he’s had average games as well. I can tell you that’s a lot better position to be in as a player … you want to be someone who can actually impact games.
“Even if that means when you play poorly you have a big impact on the team … I think that is more a reflection of his importance to the team.”
Motlop appears a sure thing to take on Sydney in Friday night’s blockbuster clash at Simonds Stadium and he could line up with luckless key forward Mitch Clark for the first time this season.
Clark has largely impressed in four games back at VFL level and a faultless block of training over the bye has him primed for a return to the big stage.
“He’s available,” Scott said.
“We just need to make a decision as to whether that’s the best thing for the team in the longer term.
“So we’ve got eight weeks before we play finals if we’re good enough and the priority is really making sure that he’s at his best towards that period.”
Clark hasn’t played in Geelong’s AFL side since he suffered a serious calf injury in round nine last season.