Geelong take on Adelaide this weekend in a fixture that Crows fans fear may feature superstar Patrick Dangerfield in the opposition’s guernsey from next season.
Adelaide supporters have already had a preview of what that looks like when the host broadcaster showed a digitally-altered photo of Dangerfield in Geelong hoops during the NAB Challenge clash between the two sides earlier this year.
It has been widely speculated that Dangerfield’s reluctance to sign a new deal with Adelaide signals his intent to return to his Victorian roots on the surf coast to continue his career with the Cats.
Geelong coach Chris Scott appreciates why the speculation is occurring, but says it’s not his club’s fault.
“I can understand that their supporters in South Australia, and in general, would be disappointed if they lost one of their key players,” Scott said on Tuesday.
“It’s unfortunate from our perspective that we seem to be the ones linked not only with Paddy, but a range of players.
“As we’ve done all season we’ll keep being disciplined with our responses.
“We empathise with the way they feel and because of that it’s important we don’t add any more fuel to the fire.”
Dangerfield, relentless at the contested ball, would obviously be a huge addition to a Geelong midfield unit where so much of the heavy lifting is done by skipper Joel Selwood.
While understandably reluctant to speak about the prospect of luring the restricted free agent from Adelaide, Scott admits he does fear Selwood’s current workload puts him at risk of burnout.
“It should be a concern for us,” he said.
“We shouldn’t just stick our head in the sand and say that he’s a tough player and a hard worker – he’ll be right, he’ll push his way through.”
The Cats could be reinforced by the returns of veterans Jimmy Bartel and James Kelly for the clash, but Mitch Clark is at least one more week away from resuming after a calf injury.