The lack of consistent VFL football is providing its challenges this year Geelong coach Chris Scott says, but it's not an excuse for the Cats.

Geelong coach Chris Scott says the lack of VFL last year and the brief suspension of his year’s second-tier competition could challenge the development of younger players on the clubs’ list and be a place where returning players can build adequate match fitness from injuries.

The VFL competition will return in Victoria this weekend with restrictions easing across the state to allow community and lower-level football and sport to take place.

The VFL competition has served as not only a strong second-tier competition for many years, it has also been a place for younger players across the competition to cut their teeth and develop their games and get to a point where they can push for senior selection.

With no second-tier competitions at all for clubs last season, some freshly drafted players have played minimal competitive football since they arrived in the AFL system, having been restricted to practice matches and multi-club scrimmage sessions in the Queensland hubs.

It also meant that players who are currently outside the best available 22 are missing out on golden chances to put a solid block of form together to press their case for selection.

Oscar Brownless playing in the Geelong VFL side. Picture: ARJ GIESE

While it’s out of the club’s control to a major degree, Scott says that it has been one of the most disappointing aspects of the past 18 months.

“That’s been a real challenge over the last year and a half,” Scott said

“It’s an unfortunate situation that half of our list find themselves in that they are unable to really bang the door down with great performances at VFL level.

“We have had some match practice to help with conditioning but putting a Really good body of work together at the lower level has been difficult.

“It’s been a challenge but not one that’s unique to us.”

After last weeks’ strong win against Port Adelaide, The Cats face some tough selection calls ahead of Friday night blockbuster at GMHBA Stadium against the Western Bulldogs with midfielder Cameron Guthrie likely to be available small forward Gryan Miers also pushing his case for a recall after an ankle injury.

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Geelong is healthy coming out of the bye with only a handful of players left on their injury list as they continue to mount their premiership assault.

 Scott says that the Cats will continue to pick their best team week in week out but maintained that there will be some challenges and interesting discussions about it from week to week and squad management throughout the rest of the campaign.

“Our approach very much is to pick the best team we can, each week, but also take a long view with what we’re trying to do this year,” Scott said

“For a long time, we’ve held the view that we think we will be better as a team over the long term if we try to build a squad of capable players.

“Whatever that number is, 25, 28, we’re not exactly sure.

“Cohesion [within the 22] is important, but what’s more important than that is having a big group of capable players.”

Geelong VFL will play Footscray in a curtain-raiser on Friday night before the main game. It will be the Victorian VFL sides first proper game in a month following Victoria’s latest COVID outbreak.

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