Cats keen to put the heat on Pies stars

The in-form Cats are looking forward to taking on Collingwood in front of a big Perth crowd.
The in-form Cats are looking forward to taking on Collingwood in front of a big Perth crowd.

Geelong defender Harry Taylor hopes his defensive unit will only have to deal with "dirty" footy in Thursday night's AFL clash with Collingwood at Optus Stadium.

With heavy rain forecast for Perth, the blockbuster showdown could end up being a scrappy slugfest.

But even if the rain stays away, Taylor hopes Geelong's midfield can exert enough pressure to ensure Collingwood's forward entries lack finesse.

"Both teams are pretty contested in the way they play the game," Taylor said.

"It's going to hopefully create a real battle around the ball. That's what I love - when both teams are going hard around the ball.

"That's the sort of stuff the fans love to see, and I love to see as a defender because I know the ball's going to come in a little bit dirty, a little bit all over the place.

"If one team gets on top, then the ball's going to come in easier and make my job a hell of a lot harder."

Brody Mihocek is Collingwood's in-form forward and looms as an ideal match-up for Taylor.

Mihocek booted four goals in last week's 32-point win over Hawthorn, and Taylor knows he needs to be on guard against the Magpie.

"One thing he does so well is just compete," Taylor said.

"He creates contests when you think he might be out of it. He works really hard both ways.

"These really good players like he is becoming, it's a matter of being more team oriented to try to stop them."

The Magpies have been bolstered by the return of Jordan De Goey, while Geelong have welcomed back Jack Steven.

The Cats (4-2) have won three games in a row to shoot up to second spot, while the Magpies are just half a win behind them in fifth.

Up to 30,000 fans can attend Thursday's match in what will be the biggest AFL crowd of the year so far.

Australian Associated Press