Geelong coach Chris Scott says it’s not up to skipper Joel Selwood to drag the Cats out of their AFL form slump.
Geelong will be looking to emerge from a flat spot against Greater Western Sydney at Simonds Stadium on Saturday after upset losses to Collingwood and Carlton in the past fortnight.
Selwood has been effectively tagged in both losses, but Scott told reporters on Thursday the third-placed Cats need a lift in several key areas to beat the Giants, currently fourth, in a game he labelled a benchmark contest.
“Joel’s been a pretty good player for a long period of time … every opposition team would have spoken about Joel Selwood, so it’s not new to us,” Scott said.
“I don’t waste too much time arguing with people on this fact but I think we’ve moved well and truly past being a team that needs Joel Selwood to play a best-on-ground game (for us) to play well.”
Daniel Menzel will return for the Cats after he was rested against the Blues, while ruckman Rhys Stanley will need to overcome a foot sprain to play, something Scott is cautiously optimistic will happen.
The Giants inflicted the only other loss of Geelong’s season back in round two, but are coming off a loss to Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
However, Scott rates GWS in the top four or five teams in the competition and warned his side will need to play at its best to avoid suffering three losses in a row for the first time since 2006.
“If we can find a way to beat them it speaks to where we sit in the competition,” he said.
“They’ve shown themselves to be in and around the top four this year and hard to beat.
“It’s a good chance for us to improve but also take on a side that’s probably going to be up there.”
Former crowd favourite Steve Johnson will return to Geelong for the first time since joining the Giants, after the Cats decided against offering the veteran forward a new contract at the end of last season.
“I think it will probably be pretty similar to Gary Ablett,” Scott said of how he expected Johnson to be received by the home fans at Simonds Stadium.
“No one in Geelong hates Stevie J, that’s for sure.”