Geelong face a tough selection call if Daniel Menzel proves his fitness for their top-four AFL battle with the Western Bulldogs.
Key forward Tom Hawkins will be an automatic recall from selection, while Menzel is recovering from the ankle injury he suffered in last week’s win over North Melbourne.
“We’re a lot more optimistic than we were, so it’s a really good sign,” coach Chris Scott said of Menzel.
“He’s worked really hard to get it right.
“There was obviously doubt, but given the way he played after that ankle injury last week, that always gave us some hope.”
Menzel needed painkillers after he caught his foot on the artificial turf that borders the Etihad Stadium playing surface.
He returned and starred with four goals.
If Menzel plays, the Cats have the pleasant selection poser of who to drop for Hawkins.
“We thought our forward line was pretty effective last week and looked a little bit different, but we would always prefer to have Tom in there,” Scott said.
“The challenge for us is to maintain the strengths we had last week, but add to them with Tom.”
Geelong will have a trifecta of big wins if they beat the Bulldogs on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.
After upset losses to Collingwood and Carlton, they have rebounded superbly by beating GWS and North.
The Cats are second and the Bulldogs hold fourth after their pulsating win last weekend over Port Adelaide.
“It’s a genuine top-four game,” Scott said.
“They’re even. They don’t depend on one or two players and defensively they’re really sound.”
The game represents a tantalising matchup of midfielders, with Cats aces Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood supreme last week against the Kangaroos.
Likewise, Marcus Bontempelli shone against Port and he has plenty of mates, with Tom Liberatore, Mitch Wallis and Jake Stringer all dangerous.
Scott suggested they might try to sit on one of the Bulldogs prime movers.
“There is still a place for the good run-with player,” he said.
“The question is always, do you alter your structure a little bit to take one of (them) out, which can lead to you being a little bit disorganised, or do you take them on, because even if you get one the other four will get you anyway?”