Melbourne can’t make the AFL finals this year but Saturday’s clash with Geelong will be a significant one for them and Cats coach Chris Scott is expecting fireworks.
The Simonds Stadium encounter will be Paul Roos’ 66th and final home-and-away game in charge at Melbourne before he hands over to coach-in-waiting Simon Goodwin.
The Demons’ late-season push for a finals berth ended last week with a disappointing loss to Carlton. The third-placed Cats need a win on Saturday to guarantee a top-four spot.
“We assume they would want (Roos) to go out on a winning note … on paper they don’t have as much to play for as us but it doesn’t always work out that way,” Scott told reporters on Thursday.
“We expect that their effort and intensity will be really high, but it’s a really important game for us so we would expect that we would be pretty good in that area too.
“It certainly won’t be a lacklustre affair heading into a final – it will be really good preparation for us.
“You would expect that they would be a little bit more free in the way that they play this week, which could translate to them being a bit more dangerous.”
Veteran forward Jimmy Bartel will return for Geelong after being rested for last week’s win over Brisbane.
Tall defender Lachie Henderson is battling to play a part in the Cats’ finals campaign after undergoing minor arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday.
“We’re more hopeful than confident (he’ll play again this year) … obviously there’s a little bit of water to flow under the bridge with his recovery,” Scott said.
“The jury’s out … we’ll just have to get a bit more information before we can give an accurate forecast.”