K rock Football

Cats healthy heading into Pies clash

IN a sign of the health of Geelong’s list just over three weeks out from Round 1, only three players are confirmed non-starters for Friday’s practice match hitout against Collingwood.

Cats’ football boss Simon Lloyd says experienced midfielder Mitch Duncan (calf), ruckman Darcy Fort (knee) and the emerging Sam Simpson (shoulder) will be sidelined for the Magpies clash.

“Touch wood, we’re relatively healthy; we’ve got a lot of numbers running around,” Lloyd said.

“Mitch is back to running now and change of direction, so he’s progressing well.

“Darcy injured his posterior cruciate ligament, and he’s now completing modified football sessions.

“We’ll see how he progresses and monitor him over the next few weeks and see how his knee reacts.”

Lloyd says the Cats will “weigh-up” whether to play Duncan in the AAMI Community Series clash against Essendon at GMHBA Stadium on March 6.

“He’s come from a strong base, and we played our season well into October, so we’ll gauge that as we get closer to the Essendon game,” Lloyd said.

“He’s getting some strong crosstraining in, and he’ll get pretty close to the line.”

That means the door remains open for boom recruit Jeremy Cameron, midfield star Patrick Dangerfield and small forward Luke Dahlhaus, who have all battled pre-season issues, to play against the Pies.

Lloyd says he expects the hitout to involve a combination of match practice and match simulation across up to six quarters.

“There’ll be different points of time during the match play that – and we did this last year – where coaches will have an opportunity to stop the play and tailor specific aspects that they want to get out of it,” he said.

“So, there’ll be parts where we just let it go. And there’ll be other parts where we have a specific focus on an aspect of play.”

Friday’s match is closed to the public but will be live-streamed for Geelong and Collingwood members.

Twitter: @tom_king79