- from afl.com.au
GEELONG'S bruised senior players took it upon themselves to drive the preparation for the Cats' demolition job on Greater Western Sydney, coach Chris Scott said.
In what Scott described as a "complete" performance, the Cats conceded four goals for the match – and just two in the first three quarters – to turn the tables on last week's loss to Sydney.
"(The senior players) were instrumental in the planning and the preparation this week, and they are in our system generally, but it was taken to an extra level this week," Scott said post-match.
"I came to the ground with great confidence because when our senior players have that attitude they generally deliver."
While last week the Cats kicked just four goals after half-time as the Swans came from behind to win, they had numerous options in attack on Friday night.
Spearhead Tom Hawkins played his best match of the year in a convincing victory over Giants co-captain Phil Davis, teaming with new cult hero Esava Ratugolea for a combined six goals.
"It's looking dangerous and they're different players which I think is a positive for the way we play," Scott said.
"Esava can be as good as anyone at ground level in our opinion, or certainly has the capacity to get to that stage.
"We're still not exactly sure – I feel like I've said this every year for the past four years – what the best combination is.
"Clearly if Daniel Menzel was available we'd be playing him along with (Nakia) Cockatoo and Lincoln McCarthy, maybe a couple of others.
"That best look is getting harder to work through because we've got some players who are really standing up at the moment."
Geelong's mounting injury toll was offset by Stewart Crameri's debut in Cats colours with two goals. Patrick Dangerfield also kicked two to go with his 27 disposals, spending large minutes forward.
Rhys Stanley received a reprieve pre-match, replacing Zac Smith in the team after an "innocuous" mishap at a local café on Friday.
After having his colours lowered last week by Callum Sinclair, who delivered the Swans a centre-clearance masterclass in the final term, Stanley bounced back against back-up ruckmen Jon Patton and Lachie Keeffe.
"Rhys wasn't as bad as people were saying he was, he had a bad last quarter and Sinclair played well, but we've always been optimistic that Rhys has got something to offer but we think Zac does as well," Scott said.
"At the moment we're only choosing to play one of them. If it does slip a little bit for one, the other gets his opportunity.
"It's just unfortunate for Zac. It seems to be happening to us a little bit, we pick guys who are in good form, looking forward to seeing them play and the day before the game you get a back spasm sitting on a chair at a café."
Scott praised a young defence that thwarted the Giants and which may see Harry Taylor return via the VFL next week after a six-week lay-off with a foot injury.
"All Australian key defenders tend to have a few credits in the bank, so I'd say he's in a pretty good position," Scott said of Taylor.
"But it's nice that we would have to think about the structure of our team with him coming back.
"There's no certainty we'll bring him back into the AFL team, but we are looking forward to getting him back at some stage."
Scott confirmed superstar Gary Ablett will return from a hamstring injury to face Collingwood on Sunday at the MCG, after the Cats enjoy a nine-day break