Jimmy Bartel of the Cats marks the ball during the 2016 AFL Second Qualifying Final match between the Geelong Cats and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 09, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Taylor: We walk taller with Bartel in the side

Geelong defender Harry Taylor says Jimmy Bartel deserves to keep his spot in the side for Friday night’s preliminary final against the Swans, despite suggestions the 32-year-old should be dropped.

Bartel has not been at his best during the latter stages of the year and he finished with 16 disposals playing mostly in the forward line in the qualifying final win over the Hawks a fortnight ago.

However, defender Harry Taylor has rubbished suggestions the 304-game veteran should be dropped, saying Bartel is a big game player.

“He’s a very, very handy player to have in the big games,” Taylor said.

“He brings a lot of experience to our footy club on the training track and in games as well.

“His record in finals is very, very good.

“What you do walk taller around is guys who just do their job and Jimmy is one of those guys who does his job every week.”

While the experienced Bartel is more than likely to keep his spot in the side, someone will have to make way, with key defender Lachie Henderson set to return from a knee injury.

Tom Ruggles looms as the most likely omission.