Vowing an empathic response to its worst defeat in eight years, Geelong is set to be bolstered by the return of Tom Lonergan and Corey Enright for Friday night’s match against Carlton.
Key defensive playmaker Andrew Mackie will also recover in time for the game at Etihad Stadium, having made significant progress from the nasty back injury that forced his substitution in the embarrassing 110-point loss to Sydney last week.
It all adds up to a far more imposing defensive unit than the one that leaked 22 goals to the Swans, and a massive challenge for the struggling Blues, who already have a psychological hurdle to confront against a combination of opponent and ground that has proved a black hole in the past.
The Blues have not beaten the Cats at Etihad Stadium in 10 attempts, a run that began with an agonising defeat in round 11, 2002, when Peter Riccardi kicked that famous goal after the siren.
While the presence of premiership trio Lonergan, Enright and Mackie will immediately strengthen the back six, Cats coach Chris Scott said he also expected a shift in mindset from the whole group following the surprise thrashing at the hands of Sydney.
Scott warned that reputations had counted for little during a searching review of the Swans' game, and reminded players that previous results would do likewise as they prepare for the 12th-placed Blues.
"We don't write it [the Sydney loss] off. I think that's the easy way out," Scott said on Wednesday.
"We spent a lot of time on it, as painful as it was," he said.
"We've got a lot of confidence in what we're doing - it doesn't guarantee anything though.
"We need to make sure we ... put our hands up when required and perform well this week when it matters.
"But the ultimate response will be on Friday night."
To underline how unusual this week would have been for Scott and the Cats, Geelong has lost just 18 times under Scott (before last Friday's demolition) by an average margin of just 13 points.
The Cats had 104 fewer possessions than the Swans, lost the clearances by 20 and the 75 inside 50s they conceded was the most in club history.
"We're all accountable at this footy club and everyone who was involved in that game made some serious mistakes and did some things we need to rectify," Scott said.
Despite the magnitude of the loss, Scott said there was no sense of panic about how far his team was behind those at the top.
The sixth-placed Cats, 7-3 for the season, have lost only to first-placed Port Adelaide, last year’s grand finalists Fremantle and the new premiership favourite Sydney - all on the road.
"I think it's important to take a step back in times like these," the premiership coach said.
"We are not in a position where we need to scrap everything and start again," he said.
"The reality for us is we've played some good opposition in the first half of the year.
"We're a little bit behind the ladder leaders, but in that group that's competing for a top-four position.
"We're still really confident in what we can achieve and we certainly haven't fallen so far behind the eight ball that we can't get to where we want to be."
Scott said he was "very confident" Lonergan would be ready to resume after sitting out last week with concussion and "almost as confident" Enright would play, but only if there is no risk of making his ankle injury worse.
The coach also confirmed star forward Allen Christensen was likely to return through the VFL this week, but did not give a timeline for his AFL comeback. Scott also said Josh Walker would be seriously considered to play as a tall forward against the Blues.