Paul Chapman
Paul Chapman

Geelong coach Chris Scott believes veteran Paul Chapman should have nothing to worry about after being reported for striking during their comfortable 34-point win over Sydney at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.

Chapman's name was put in the umpire's book in the first quarter after he allegedly struck Sydney midfielder Ben McGlynn.

But Scott believes there was little in the incident and Chapman, who was one of Geelong's best against the Swans, should line up against either Fremantle or North Melbourne in their elimination final next week.

"Not for me," Scott said post-match when asked if he had any concerns Chapman would be rubbed out.

"I've had a look at the vision quite closely, that's just me though."

While some doubt hangs over Chapman's availability for the first week of Geelong's finals campaign, one thing for certain is the Cats will be in Melbourne for their cut-throat final and Scott highlighted how important it was that they killed any chance of travelling to Perth next week by beating Sydney.

However, with four non-Victorian teams in the top eight, Scott knows the Cats will probably have to travel interstate at some point this month if they want to make another grand final.

"It matters," Scott said.

"One of the difficulties in finishing outside the top four and going all the way is that there's a likelihood you would need to travel multiple weeks.

"And with the situation in Perth, you might get a couple of six-day breaks in there as well so the first game in Melbourne helps us.

"If we want to go all the way, and we think we're capable of it, we're going to have to beat a really good team interstate at some stage I would imagine."

And the Geelong boss wasn't too upset about missing out on a double chance.

"Given the choice of really struggling and running out of legs and finishing fourth or playing great footy, somewhere near your best, (and) finishing fifth or sixth then I'd take the latter," he said.

Scott was rapt with how well Geelong played against Sydney, a team that occupied top spot on the ladder a mere two rounds ago, and described the 'tough, contested' nature of the encounter as a good 'dress rehearsal' for the finals.

The Cats beat the Swans at their own game, comprehensively winning the tackle count (89-68) and contested ball (165-145).

"If we had a choice between a tough, contested game that we came through with winning or a really soft game against poor opposition where we won by a lot, I'd take the former," Scott said.

While usual suspects Chapman, Harry Taylor, Joel Selwood, James Kelly and Tom Hawkins all starred for Geelong on Saturday, it was the performance of returning young ruckman Nathan Vardy that seemed to please Scott the most.

Vardy played his first match in over 12 months due to a serious hip injury which threatened his career.

But you wouldn't have known what he had been through in the past year as he moved very well around the ground, presented well when he went forward and now looms as a vital part of the Cats' quest for back-to-back flags.

"Vardy's a fantastic story, we'll try not to get too excited about the way he played today but it's going to be difficult," Scott said.

"Right from the first centre bounce when he jumped over the top of the Sydney ruckman, it was exciting to watch.

"Four or five weeks ago we weren't really thinking about him at AFL level, but he just played well enough and good enough (in the VFL) in the previous three weeks to force his way in."

Meanwhile, Travis Varcoe (ankle) is unlikely to return to the senior line-up next week.


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