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Cats confirm eyebrow raising late change for Grand Final rematch


Despite only naming their team 24 hours ago, Geelong has swung a late change with ruckman Rhys Stanley going out for Esava Ratugolea.

Adding to the confusion, Cats assistant coach Nigel Lappin has confirmed that Stanley was simply dropped.

The ruckman was of course named in the team on Thursday night.

Stanley struggled in last week’s loss to Sydney, with Swans ruckman Tom Hickey getting the better of him.

“Yes (Stanley) has (been dropped),” Lappin confirmed on AFL Nation.

“Rhys was far from at his best last week. That happens time to time with some players.”

“Rhys has been as disappointed as anyone. He’s worked hard at his game this week.

“With Esava tonight we’ve got a young, fit, healthy guy who’s really excited about getting his opportunity out there tonight. He’s played pretty well against the Tigers in the past and we wanted to give him the opportunity tonight.”

Ratugolea being named to play was not a surprise. AFL Media’s Mitch Cleary reported on Wednesday that the key forward would get his shot in the ruck this week.

The team sheets on Thursday night appeared to prove that report wrong. Evidently it was proven right.

Geelong under coach Chris Scott have developed a reputation for swinging late changes, including with their ruck position in the past.

Stanley was dropped in the hours leading up to a Qualifying Final clash with Collingwood in 2019.

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