K rock Football

Cats to make call on Cocky

Nakia Cockatoo in action on his return to football in Geelong’s VFL win over Port Melbourne. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

WITH his chance of making an AFL return in 2019 getting slimmer, Geelong is weighing up whether to put a hold on the comeback of Nakia Cockatoo.

The 22-year-old livewire played his first game in more than 12 months in the VFL on August 4.

However, hamstring tightness ruled Cockatoo out of last week’s clash with North Melbourne, and senior coach Chris Scott says he’s no certainty to play this week.

“So we are getting to the point where we need to decide whether the risk short term is too great,” Scott said.

“He’s going OK; he hasn’t had a setback. We just need him to be perfect before he plays every week.

“He wasn’t that last week, and there’s a chance he might not be that this week as well.

“I’ll put on the table there is a possibility we might take the longer-term view and take him out of all games this season.”

CATS: DEATH OF A LEGEND

Scott was at pains to point out this latest issue isn’t a setback for Cockatoo, who has played just 34 AFL games since being drafted at the end of 2014.

“It’s just a matter of weighing the risk of playing a couple of games at the end of the year and potentially compromising a really good pre-season and his longer-term future,” Scott said

“It sounds a bit morbid, and that wasn’t my intention. It’s just trying to be as transparent as possible because, as you know, we’re really careful with him.”

Scott remains confident Cockatoo can still make a meaningful contribution at GMHBA Stadium.

“So playing a couple of games at the end of the year doesn’t really factor into my thinking, and there are alternate views around the place, and I think he would like to play,” Scott said.

“The real priority with him getting back to playing was he may play well enough and be in good enough shape that he could force his way into our team.

“Once that becomes very unlikely, then I think we’ll change tack.”

Click below to listen to Chris Scott’s media conference in its entirety