Geelong coach Chris Scott won't jump at shadows if his AFL side stumbles in a testing five-day block, during which Jack Steven could tackle former club St Kilda for the first time.
The Cats recorded a 33-point win over North Melbourne at the Gabba on Wednesday night.
They return to the venue on Monday night to face the Saints then 'host' ladder-leading Port Adelaide at Metricon Stadium on Friday night.
Victory in both matches could mean the Cats are in the mix for the minor premiership, while consecutive losses would be a major blow to their top-four hopes.
"I don't want to say it's a referendum on where we sit in the competition," Scott said.
"I don't think we should jump at shadows if we don't quite pass those tests.
"In a season where everyone plays each other once, the ladder can be a bit misleading.
"Until you actually work through who has played who - and who you think the good teams are - then it's hard to get a read on it."
Scott suggested it it too early to say whether Steven, who won four best-and-fairest awards at the Saints before requesting a trade to Geelong at the end of the 2019 season, would play next round.
"We're open minded. We'll wait and see how he pulls up," Scott saidd.
"Every player tends to be a bit different when they play their old team. I try not to put myself in a player's head.
"If you outwardly see that it's going to be a bit of an issue, you try to address it, but I haven't seen any signs of that with Jack."
Scott is upbeat Tom Hawkins wouldn't need a break during this upcoming condensed block of games, but did forecast plenty of changes for Monday night's match.
The Cats rested four players from their clash with North Melbourne.
"That's a roundabout number for us (again)," Scott said.
"But things can change a little bit. We can go from four to six or seven quite quickly. I hope we're not in that position, but I've got confidence in our group who haven't played much.
"Every club's depth will be tested and at the moment we're passing that test."
Australian Associated Press