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Small Magpies forwards can still swoop on Cats: Scott

The prospect of injury-decimated Collingwood fielding a smaller, second-string forward line against Geelong just makes them even more dangerous, says Cats coach Chris Scott.

The reigning premiers (ninth, 8-2-6) are without an established key forward for Friday night’s game at the MCG, with Brody Mihocek and Mason Cox injured and Dan McStay returning from his ACL tear via the VFL.

Jamie Elliott should return from a vascular issue but swingman Jeremy Howe appears unlikely to play after experiencing hamstring tightness on Monday, then failing to train on Wednesday.

When asked if Collingwood’s absences would allow Geelong’s defence to play more aggressively, Scott said: “No, I think on the contrary.

“Sometimes when the opposition forward line is harder to predict, it certainly makes planning more difficult, more uncertain. Whether it ends up being easier or harder is difficult to predict.

“But one would assume they’re gonna go a little bit smaller than normal – not by design, they’re looking forward to getting McStay back and Mihocek’s obviously a big loss, Cox is still out.

“It looks to us like Jamie Elliott will come back after not playing for a long time, he’s obviously a really dynamic player.

“It’s a risk thinking about their forwards in terms of their height. Guys like Bobby Hill and Jamie Elliott in particular, Ash Johnson if he comes in, they can play above their height without any problems at all.

“So if anything of any kind steels us a little more to make sure we get the attention to detail right.”

Scott was confident Geelong (fifth, 10-6) had returned to their preferred style of football over the past fortnight, when they beat Essendon and Hawthorn.

“We feel like we’ve played a little bit more the way we aspire to,” he said.

But he was wary of Collingwood returning to a high-pressure game after lowering their colours against Essendon last Friday.

“It’s naive to think that in today’s footy you just roll out your style and be good enough to win – I think that’s got a touch of arrogance to it,” Scott said.

“You’ve always got to be thinking how you can improve your game and how you’ve got to adjust to the opposition.

“Collingwood are a good example of that because they will and have always prioritised their pressure around the ball and I think they’ll be thinking ‘we’ve got to really up our pressure’.

“Essendon marked the ball a lot on them last week. From what I can tell, they’ve been quite up front that that’s not the way they want to be played against.

“So it’s an intriguing game. Their personnel will be a little bit different and we’ve got to adjust.”

Scott said Geelong had a “plan” for Collingwood dynamo Nick Daicos, who has been tagged on-and-off this season.

Jed Bews could play his first game of the year while Mitch Knevitt is also in the mix after missing last week through illness.

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