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Freo ruck to rule Eagles, Cats
Dockers forward Michael Walters feels the 41C heat during training at Fremantle Oval yesterday. Pic: Getty Images

Fremantle will take a significant ruck advantage into Saturday night's NAB Cup clashes against West Coast and Geelong after the Cats followed the Eagles' lead and ruled out several of their best big men yesterday.

West Coast's All-Australian duo Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui won't play and the Cats' high-profile recruit Hamish McIntosh has had minor knee surgery.

With Nathan Vardy and Dawson Simpson unavailable, the Cats will have just one established ruckman.

"Two ruckmen that aren't in ideal shape right at the moment is a little bit concerning," Geelong coach Chris Scott said.

"We'll take a couple of rookie ruckmen over, plus Trent West. It's almost vindication for our policy of having four ruckmen on our list.

"We can only hope that Cox and Naitanui won't play as has been speculated. But I'm assuming that (Aaron) Sandilands will play and everyone is a little bit short compared to him."

Geelong will also be without premiership stars James Kelly, Paul Chapman and Josh Hunt.

Hunt is recovering from glandular fever and although he has resumed training he is being carefully managed.

Former South Fremantle forward Shane Kersten will play, while former Claremont youngster Joel Hamling is under consideration.

Premiership forward Travis Varcoe will play just his second match since the 2011 grand final after recovering from foot injuries that destroyed his 2012 season.

Scott said Varcoe would be like a fresh recruit in 2013 and added further depth to a squad that had been bolstered by the recruitment of experienced players.

"We've effectively brought in seven or eight players from the squad that was available last year, when you consider (Josh) Caddy, McIntosh and (Jared) Rivers plus (Josh) Cowan, Varcoe and Vardy should be back," he said.

"That's a big percentage of your team that wasn't available last year.

"While those guys aren't all certainties to be in our best 22, they're pretty close."

Saturday night will be Geelong's first visit to Perth since Scott slammed WA football fans for their poor behaviour last season.

The premiership coach said WA fans were the worst in Australia after officials were abused while attempting to treat injured forward Tom Hawkins. But Scott said he was confident of a warm reception.

"It'll be good," Scott said. "It's a ground we haven't played all that well at, even though we've had some pretty close results.

"I loved my time over in Perth and 99.9 per cent of the crowd are fantastic and really enthusiastic."

Geelong have lost their past three matches at Patersons Stadium.