Cats ponder ruck situation for AFL finals

·2-min read

AFL premiership favourites Geelong have refused to rule out tinkering with their ruck set-up ahead of the preliminary final.

Former Hawthorn big man Jon Ceglar was left out of the Cats' qualifying final victory over Collingwood after making three appearances late in the season.

Rhys Stanley was preferred against the Magpies, but Collingwood ruck duo Darcy Cameron and Mason Cox had the better of their duel with the versatile veteran.

Star utility Mark Blicavs was sent into the middle instead of Stanley for the crucial last two centre clearances in the thrilling six-point win.

Geelong assistant coach Shaun Grigg was given an opportunity to confirm Stanley's position, but left the door ajar for Ceglar.

"We'll have discussions in a number of ways we set up, not just in that position, but all over the ground," Grigg told reporters on Wednesday.

"That's the beauty of the position we find ourselves in as a group, we've got a lot of depth and good players who unfortunately didn't play on the weekend.

"Rhys has had a great year and Jon has performed well when he's come in also so all positions are up for discussion."

Grigg believed Blicavs going into the middle for the pulsating final minutes last Saturday was nothing out of the ordinary.

"We've done it all year, guys have played different roles at different times," Grigg said.

"Mark's played a lot of different positions, he's played a lot of ruck, Rhys has played a lot of ruck."

Ceglar impressed in Geelong's final home-and-away season game against West Coast, gathering 24 possessions - his best return since 2019 - and had 29 hit-outs.

But the 31-year-old has struggled with injuries since crossing from the Hawks at the end of last year and Geelong will have to weigh up if he can play out an intense sudden-death final.

The ruck situation will become more important if reigning premiers Melbourne beat Brisbane and win through to play the Cats in the preliminary final.

The Demons have All-Australian superstar Max Gawn in the ruck, with young ace Luke Jackson an outstanding back-up

Meanwhile, Geelong remain hopeful defender Jake Kolodjashnij could play in the clash at the MCG on September 16 after escaping a serious knee injury.

After suffering a concussion against the Eagles before proving his fitness during the pre-finals bye, Kolodjashnij was subbed out in the second quarter against Collingwood.

"The beauty of winning and being in that position to have a week off is to give guys like that the extra chance to get up so he'll discuss that with the medical team," Grigg said.