Geelong coach Chris Scott says Mitch Duncan will sit out the round-one clash against Essendon as the Cats adopt a safety first approach with a number of players.
Geelong are priced at 18/25 to beat the Bombers and get the 2022 AFL campaign underway with a win but Duncan will watch on from the sidelines.
Duncan has been making good progress from a troublesome calf injury but Saturday's clash against Essendon at the MCG has come a touch too soon for him.
The same can be said of Sam Menegola (knee), Gryan Miers (ankle), Mark O'Connor (knee) and Jed Bews (concussion) and Scott says he is taking no chances.
"We're going to hold Mitch back and that was a difficult decision for us because Mitch has been moving well the last couple of weeks," Scott told reporters ahead of the weekend.
"But we're going to play the long game with a few of our really good players this week.
"Mitch is part of a group that are all short-term (prospects), we expect to have them back really soon, but we're going to be more conservative with them going into the season."
However Scott has confirmed exciting recruit Tyson Stengle will play following some eye-catching performances in pre-season.
The small forward gets his chance after being axed by the Adelaide Crows and could be a real find for the Cats.
"He's a great story," Scott added. "AFL footy generally does a great job of providing second chances for players and people, and he hasn't put a foot wrong this pre-season.
"We didn't bring him in on a guarantee that he would be in our team. He had to train and play and perform his way into our 22 for round one and he's done that really well."