GEELONG has only recently arrived in Sydney but is already preparing for the possibility of being on the road for longer than the five-week period initially laid out by the AFL.
The Cats are one of 10 Victorian clubs that have kept the season rolling by exiting the state as it battles its latest COVID-19 spike.
They take on Brisbane at the SCG on Thursday night before travelling to Perth, where they will play against Collingwood, West Coast and Fremantle.
Coach Chris Scott is unsure when Geelong will be allowed to return to Victoria and has started considering the potential ramifications of the club being forced to extend the road trip, including how he might juggle his squad over a longer period.
The Cats have taken their entire playing group to Sydney but could send players home at different points.
“We need to put some thought into how it may play out,” Scott said.
“Even the scenario where we may send players home, we need to put some thought into when we might be able to get them back.
“We know we’re going to Perth and we’re not exactly sure where we’re going to be after that.
“That has to factor into our thinking because the last thing that we want to do is send guys home and be away longer than expected and risk not being able to get them back into the state in which we’re playing.”
Scott said the key to Geelong handling the road trip well will be in their ability to narrow their focus.
“If ever there was a situation where we’ve just got to focus on the short term and get that done (this is it), and trust that in the long term we’ll be OK,” Scott said.
“But every indication I’m getting from our group is that they’re really up for the challenge, and it’s not all bad.
“We’d prefer to stay at home and play every game in Geelong, but there’s upside to being away together as well.”
Cats champion Gary Ablett revealed on Sunday his 17-month-old son is living with a rare degenerative disease, but has opted to travel with the team while wife Jordan and son Levi remain at home.
“We consider our role as one of support for whatever he needs,” Scott said.
“Right at the moment, we’re pushing on with a little bit of a loose plan around what his next month to six weeks might look like, but keeping our options open to change our mind as things happen.
“It’s clearly a difficult time for him, it has been for some time, but one of the things that’s made him a champion over the years in my opinion is his ability to compartmentalise these things.”
Geelong is planning a reserves scratch match with Collingwood on Friday and are hopeful of replicating the session in Perth next week, pending WA government clearances.
(C) AAP 2020