The revolving door at Geelong has begun, with Jack Steven among six outs for Monday night’s AFL clash with Fremantle at Optus Stadium.
The Cats are entering the most-hectic schedule in their AFL history, with four games in 14 days to follow their match against the Dockers.
Joel Selwood (hamstring), Jordan Clark (shoulder), Luke Dahlhaus (foot), Darcy Fort (injured) and Gary Ablett (personal reasons) were all forced changes for the Cats.
But Geelong coach Chris Scott has also decided to rest Steven to help him to prepare for the busy schedule ahead.
Steven, having spent time in hospital earlier this year after being stabbed, has since played four games for the Cats.
Clubs are set to employ a rotational policy through rounds 9-12, and the resting of Steven is an early taste of what’s to come.
Geelong welcome back Tom Stewart and Mitch Duncan from injury, while Charlie Constable, Lachie Fogarty and Lachie Henderson have been named for their first AFL games of the season.
Mature-age forward Brad Close, taken with pick No.14 in the rookie draft, will make his debut.
Fremantle made just two changes, recalling Reece Conca and Brandon Matera for Stephen Hill (adductor) and Travis Colyer (axed).
The Dockers again overlooked Connor Blakely despite the continued absence of Nat Fyfe.
Blakely is a proven ball winner, but has been criticised in the past for a perceived lack of defensive mindset and is yet to be selected for AFL action in 2020.
Former Dockers mentor Ross Lyon gave Blakely bulk time in defence to round out his game, but Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir sees him as a full-time midfielder.
“For Connor, it’s about him pushing one of the other mids out of the team,” Longmuir said.
“I feel like our midfield group is going okay.
“He can play back and he’s played back before but, since I walked in, he’s been in the midfield group.
“I want to give him opportunity in the midfield, because that’s where he trained up and been trained up to play our system.
“His opportunity will come.”