The full extent of Geelong’s off-season recruitment drive will become clear when Scott Selwood makes his AFL club debut against Essendon.
Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield, Lachie Henderson and Zac Smith joined the Cats – to varying degrees of fanfare – after the 2015 season.
Pre-season ankle surgery meant Selwood was forced to wait until round 20 for a chance to play alongside brother Joel.
“It’s really exciting to have him back. He’s had a very long and meticulous rehab from serious ankle issues that have plagued him for two seasons,” Cats coach Chris Scott said.
“There’s no golden ticket. If he plays well enough within our system then he’ll push for a spot (in the finals).
“We’re optimistic that will happen but it’s far from guaranteed.”
The prospect of leaving a fit-again Selwood on the sidelines is the latest reminder of the Cats’ depth.
“Along with a large portion of our team, he’s not an automatic selection,” Scott said of the 26-year-old, who played 135 games with West Coast.
Geelong face Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Scott keen to see his side iron out some kinks while boosting their percentage in the lead-up to September.
Meanwhile, Scott was bemused by recent conjecture about Jimmy Bartel’s future.
Bartel is yet to decide whether he will play on in 2017, with the club icon saying this week that a season spent predominantly in the VFL “would never sit comfortably”.
“Hard to argue with … I would’ve thought it’s self-evident,” Scott said.
“If he plays well enough next year to demand a spot in our best 22, he plays AFL.
“My suspicion at the moment is that he will (play on).
“There has been a little bit of talk that seems to be slanted towards the negative, and I’m struggling to understand that.
“The ball is squarely in his court.”