Geelong star Tom Stewart is bracing for another run-with role this week when the Cats face Gold Coast in Darwin, with the Suns themselves revealing the five-time All-Australian is likely to gain some extra attention this week.

Stewart isn't unfamiliar with gaining a tag from an opposition forward, but last week's matchup with Port Adelaide forward Jed McEntee caused some frustrations for the backman and his side in a narrow loss.

The clamps from McEntee saw Stewart even cost his side a 50-metre penalty in the match, with the Cats champion admitting he "showed I was human" in the defeat.

Despite the frustrations, Stewart - who is expecting another tag this week against the Suns - said he sees the attention as "a badge of honour".

"It's been happening to me for a long time. There was a lot of attention given to me last week, and I expect that most weeks. Last week I showed I was human and I'm ok with that," Stewart told media in the Northern Territory on Tuesday.

"It's a badge of honour for me. From where I've come from to where I am now, to have teams putting that much time and effort into my game to stifle what I can do is something I wear proudly.

"I expect the same from Gold Coast and we'll do the same to their good players like Touk. It's AFL footy and that's what we anticipate."

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - MAY 10: Jack Henry and Tom Stewart of the Cats warm up before the round nine AFL match between Geelong Cats and Port Adelaide Power at GMHBA Stadium, on May 10, 2024, in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Suns co-captain Touk Miller confirmed they'll "look to target" Stewart given his ability to have a resounding impact on the game from defence.

Managing to quell Stewart could be the difference in Thursday's bout, however the Suns will call on a team effort to limit the influence of Geelong's top players on all three lines of the field.

"He's someone whose magnet is always going to be on the board, he's a really damaging player and has been for a long time.," Miller said, via

"He's someone we'll look to target, and I know he'll see that coming. 

"When you do have good players … you've got to find a way to work around them or restrict their damage."

At the other end of the field, the Cats are set to have a new-look attaching cohort with star pairing Jeremy Cameron (concussion) and Tom Hawkins (managed) not making the trip to the Top End.

Fringe forward Shannon Neale looks set to come into the side in place of the absent pair, while second-year Cat Ollie Henry will likely spearhead Chris Scott's attack against the Suns.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 22: Shannon Neale of the Cats and Toby Conway of the Cats celebrate the win during the round nine VFL match between the Northern Bullants and Geelong Cats at Preston City Oval on May 22, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Stewart said the double change won't throw the Cats off their plans moving forward, with the club "bullish to see what the next generation looks like".

"One the game starts, you don't really think of those things," Stewart said of missing Hawkins and Cameron this week.

"They've both been mainstays of our forward half for a number of years now, but it gives us a really good opportunity to see something new and exciting.

"Shannon Neale has probably been unlucky not to be in the side, he gets his opportunity to come in. There's a plethora of players that have been playing really good footy in the VFL for us.

"It might be different for the viewers and spectators at home, but we're really bullish to see what the next generation looks like."

Geelong are looking to return to the winner's list after seeing their seven-game undefeated start to the season met with a two-game winless run over the past fortnight. The Suns sit two wins behind the Cats and will look to make it successive victories after defeating North Melbourne in Darwin last week.

Gold Coast WON BY 64 POINTS
TIO Stadium