K rock Football

Cats to stay course with Cocky

Geelong’s Nakia Cockatoo. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

COACH Chris Scott doesn’t want Nakia Cockatoo letting his mind wander to making AFL return in 2019 despite getting through his first match in more than 12 months unscathed on the weekend.

The 22-year-old played a half in the Cats’ VFL win over Port Melbourne, gathering six possessions and at times showed his trademark aggression.

“We don’t really want him thinking about that too much over the next couple of weeks,” Scott said.

“He’ll still have modified game time next week, and hopefully after that, he’ll be able to let himself go.

“We saw good signs from the little bit he played on the weekend, but there’s just too much water to flow under the bridge before we start getting his head around whether he could force his way into our team.”

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Scott says the health of the Geelong list is also working against Cockatoo, who last played at AFL level in Round 3, 2018.

“We have some good players who are starved of opportunity as it is,” Scott said.

“So it’s complicated even if Nakia was in good form and had some footy behind him, and he’s still a way from proving that.

“We haven’t ruled it out; we’ve got a very open mind. But it’s not something that will become very focused for us for at least a few weeks.”

However, when Scott was asked whether he would hesitate to play him at AFL level when the Cats feel he is ready the answer was an emphatic “no”,

“If he proved he was ready and available and ready to do the job – that’s a big if – then the question kind of define’s the answer.

“He’s clearly got the talent, but he hasn’t played for 12 months.

“He’d have to do a fair bit between now and us playing him to prove that he was up to the job. Finals tend to be pretty fierce encounters.

“But he does thrive in that environment as well; he’s that sort of player.”

Twitter: @tom_king79
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