GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Mitch Duncan of the Cats marks the ball ahead of Liam Duggan of the Eagles during the 2019 AFL round 06 match between the Geelong Cats and the West Coast Eagles at GMHBA Stadium on April 28, 2019 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)

Geelong veteran Mitch Duncan is set for further load management this pre-season after enduring an injury-interrupted 2021 campaign.

The 30-year-old suffered a PCL injury in June against the Bulldogs and was sidelined until the Cats' qualifying final clash against Port Adelaide two months later.

Duncan also missed his side's opening two matches of the season after battling a calf complaint, with Geelong not taking any chances this pre-season.

The Carine product has begun the new year following his own training program, with the club set to be eased into the swing of things for 2022.

“At the end of last year, I had a baby and moved house, so we just kind of managed my loads a little bit," Duncan told media on Wednesday.

“They’re doing it smartly; I’ve missed the last two pre-seasons with some injuries, so (we’re) just managing smartly, and I’m on a bit of an individualised program.

“Probably in the next couple of weeks ... you’ll see me running around.”

The Cats will be looking for redemption this year following their disastrous 83-point crushing at the hands of eventual premiers Melbourne, with further questions over Geelong's list demographic arising after the Cats' exit.

The Cats enter 2022 as the oldest and most experienced side in the competition once again, however will be lifted by a new-look football department and coaching strikeforce.

While Chris Scott will retain his place in the hot-seat, the Cats have rung the changes for his ranks.

Geelong have welcomed the returns of former players in James Kelly, Matthew Egan, Harry Taylor and Shannon Byrnes to coaching and football department roles, while ex-Carlton and Adelaide forward Eddie Betts has ventured to Kardinia Park as a development coach.

AFL Rd 3 - Geelong v Carlton
GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 20: Eddie Betts of the Blues (L) in action during the round 3 AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Carlton Blues at GMHBA Stadium on June 20, 2020 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Photos via Getty Images )

The refreshed coaching core has buoyed Duncan and his teammates to focus on a deep finals finish this year.

“We’ve got some great staff that give us an opportunity to play finals footy most years," Duncan added.

“We’ve got some new voices and coaches, I dare say there’ll be a few different tweaks and changes, really looking forward to this year and where we get to.

“I feel like I’m young again with those blokes, it’s a spring in the step, we had great people at the footy club but it was time for change and some new voices and new people around.

“It feels like a new club, a lot of draftees, it feels really different at the minute and it’s exciting.”

Geelong have surprisingly left their assistant coaching duties open for the foreseeable future, with 7 News' Mitch Cleary revealing the Cats are set to make an official call in the coming weeks.

Scott is also understood to be nearing a new deal with the club, which will extend his stay at the Cattery until the end of the 2024 season.

The Cats will have their initial sights set on their pre-season schedule set to begin next month, with Geelong facing Richmond and Gold Coast as part of their 2022 preparations prior to their Round 1 clash against Essendon.

 

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