Cats to carefully manage Patrick Dangerfield's return
Geelong will give Patrick Dangerfield extra time off to recover from a hamstring strain as the Cats seek to repeat last year's success managing their superstar.
The Cats captain will sit out Friday night's clash with Richmond at the MCG after being subbed out early in the third quarter in last week's win over Adelaide.
Dangerfield was the latest to join a growing injury list at Geelong, with fellow premiership heroes Tyson Stengle (broken arm), Sam De Koning (facial surgery), Gary Rohan (hamstring) and Cam Guthrie (toe) all sidelined.
The 33-year-old's injury was minor but the Cats won't be taking any risks with the Brownlow medallist so early in their premiership defence.
Dangerfield struggled with a calf injury last year, missing five weeks, but was firing come finals time.
"We will manage everyone's expectation with that, he will come back into our senior team well and truly after he's ready," Cats coach Chris Scott said.
"It sort of mimics what we did with him a little bit last year, but it doesn't speak to the severity of the injury.
"So probably a little bit similar to Mitch Duncan earlier in the year.
"Just when it comes to Patrick we feel like discretion's the way to go.
"...he definitely won't play this week and I doubt he will play next week."
After starting the season 0-3, Geelong will be gunning for a sixth-straight win when they meet the Tigers.
The Cats will start as warm favourites with Richmond having broken a five-game losing streak with a workmanlike victory over struggling West Coast last week.
It will be the first time the modern rivals have faced off since champion defender Tom Stewart was banned for a month after knocking out star Tigers midfielder Dion Prestia with a high bump in round 15 last year.
Prestia and Richmond coach Damien Hardwick have urged Tigers fans to show respect to Stewart, but the Cats understand the crowd response could be fiery.
Fan behaviour was thrust into the spotlight this week after Lance Franklin was bizarrely jeered by Collingwood supporters every time he touched the ball last Sunday.
"With Tom Stewart, there's a reason for the booing, I think Tom would understand that," Scott said.
"I think he'll be okay with that because he's reconciled his actions last year and did that really quickly.
"I was proud of him. He was clear that he did the wrong thing and felt horrible about it."