Geelong AFL coach Chris Scott admits the Cats have been navigating through uncharted territory in the aftermath of Sunday’s cancelled game against Adelaide.
Geelong will face North Melbourne on the back of a 20-day break, with their game against the Crows abandoned following the shock death of Phil Walsh.
Scott said the significance of his side’s preparation paled, in comparison to the tragedy that unfolded in Adelaide.
“It’s been a really trying time for the Adelaide footy club and Phil’s family and I’m proud of the way our club has been respectful of that,” Scott said on Wednesday.
“But what we need to do here, while we do respect those sensitivities, is move on and prepare as well as we can for Saturday night.
“But the reality for us is that it is a different situation. We are going into the unknown a little bit but, in the scheme of things, having a little bit more time between games seems pretty insignificant.”
Geelong have been slow out of the blocks, coming off longer breaks this season, and Scott says his coaching panel has spent some time on the issue.
“It would be crazy not to think about it and talk about it amongst our coaching group but I think it requires a little bit more caution when you’re talking about the players – sometimes these things can be self-fulfilling,” he said.
“The coaching staff have a responsibility to assess it but I don’t think we really need to plant that seed in the minds of our players.”
The 10th-placed Cats take on the 11th-placed Kangaroos in what looms as a pivotal clash as both sides try to close the gap on the top eight.
Jimmy Bartel will return from the knee injury that has kept him out since round three, while James Kelly must prove his fitness this week if he is to resume from his round-11 ankle injury.
Mitch Clark remains sidelined, with Scott revealing his calf complaint is taking longer than expected to heal.
“Mainly for our supporters’ sake, don’t plan on seeing Mitch probably for a couple of weeks,” he said.
“But we certainly don’t think it’s a very long-term thing.
“But even if it is, we’ve got a strong confidence that the long-term plan will mean he’s an important player for us.”