The prospect of Patrick Dangerfield going head to head with close friend, former teammate and fellow Brownlow Medal fancy Rory Sloane shapes as the most-intriguing aspect of Friday night’s table-topping AFL clash at Simonds Stadium.
Third-placed Geelong have won their four most-recent matches against ladder leaders Adelaide, although Cats coach Chris Scott insists that impressive record will count for next to nothing.
“The most relevant thing is they’re the best team in the competition at the moment and, without underselling our upside, to an extent we’re chasing them,” Scott said on Wednesday.
“If we spend too much time patting ourselves on the back at things we’ve done well against them, I think we’ll be in for a rude shock.”
Former Crow Dangerfield is the $4.25 favourite with bookmakers William Hill to win a second-straight Brownlow Medal, with Sloane on the second line of betting at $5.
Neither Scott nor his Crows counterpart Don Pyke tend to favour the use of a negating tagger, raising the enticing prospect of the two prime movers spending considerable time squaring off against each other.
“(Sloane) is very, very rarely just an offensive player, although he’s very good in the contest and very good with the ball,” said Scott.
“History would suggest he’s played his best when he’s beaten a quality opposition player and worked off him as well.”
The Cats are almost certain to bring back experienced defender Tom Lonergan on Friday night as they look to blunt the most-potent offensive unit in the AFL.
The Crows have amassed 1241 points in 10 games this season, almost 200 more than Geelong, who boast the second-best attack in the league.
“They are a forward line where, if one doesn’t get you, the other one will,” said Scott.
“I could go on and on about the challenges they present.”
Eddie Betts is in fourth spot in the Coleman Medal race with 31 goals, while Adelaide captain Taylor Walker is tied for ninth with 25.
Scott also noted the threat presented by less-heralded duo Tom Lynch and Andy Otten.
“When their midfield is on top, they give them pretty good delivery so it’s multi-faceted,” said Scott.
“If you stop them marking the ball, they’ve proved they’re really dangerous as well and the wet slippery conditions don’t bother them too much.”
Lonergan, 33, sat out the two-point win over the Power last weekend, but is almost certain to return to take on the Crows.