Geelong will regain ruckman Rhys Stanley for Thursday's clash with Melbourne, while the club has provided updates on several key players, including Patrick Dangerfield and Esava Ratugolea.

Stanley has been sidelined since Geelong's trip to South Australia to face West Coast in Gather Round due to a facial fracture, with the premiership veteran making his return to the field last weekend in the VFL.

Stanley played three quarters in the club's narrow win over Frankston to put himself in contention for a return against Demons pair Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy this week at senior level.

The Cats could also welcome back Irishman Oisin Mullin for the Round 15 clash after an adductor injury, while young midfielder Tanner Bruhn looks to have shaken off a shoulder concern to be in the mix to face Melbourne as well.

“Rhys played three quarters of football and did a bit of top up running at the very end and we expect Rhys to be available this week,” Geelong football boss Simon Lloyd said in a club injury update.

“Obviously it's been a long period of time with Rhys's recovery from a facial fracture but great to have him back.

“Tanner suffered a shoulder injury and was able to play out the game and Oisin missed with an adductor last week as well, so both those players have trained strongly today and we expect them to both be available this week.”

Stanley's return will come after second-string ruckman Jon Ceglar was sidelined with an adductor injury for last week's matchup with Port Adelaide.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 17: Rhys Stanley of the Cats and Toby Nankervis of the Tigers compete in a ruck contest during the 2018 AFL round 13 match between the Geelong Cats and the Richmond Tigers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 17, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Ceglar, alongside defender Esava Ratugolea (hamstring) have both commenced training but will require more time in rehabilitation.

“Esava is training really well and hitting all of his high speed markers, so the decision will be made between Chris Scott and the coaching team, working very closely with the medical department, as to when he's available but he's very close," Lloyd said.

Geelong will be without captain Patrick Dangerfield for this week at the very least after the Brownlow Medal winner suffered rib and lung injuries in the loss to Port Adelaide.

“We'll be guided by our medical team," Lloyd said on Dangerfield's return timeframe.

"He was obviously quite ginger post game but he's moving around freely now but it we will be guided by our medical team as to all of the results that they receive throughout the course of the week and we'll judge his availability in due course.”

Veteran midfielder Sam Menegola (knee) and young ruck-forward Shannon Neale (ankle) will both play VFL this weekend, with the former set to feature in his first on -field stint for the year.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Sam Menegola of the Cats celebrates a goal during the 2021 AFL Second Semi Final match between the Geelong Cats and the GWS Giants at Optus Stadium on September 3, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“Sam's obviously come back from a long lay off with knee arthroscopes and Shannon Neale with ankle surgery, but they'll both return this week and play some VFL football," Lloyd said.

“It's really exciting for our fans, our supporters and our members and exciting for the club as well to have both Sam and Shannon return in the hoops this week.”

Geelong will host Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium on Thursday night at 7:20pm (AEST).