K rock Football

Cats use lockdown to heal wounds

Jake Kolodjashnij is one Geelong player to have benefitted from the shutdown of the AFL season. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

THE music was pumping in the background as banter and laughter filled the air on a crisp May morning in Geelong, as a sense of normalcy returned to GMHBA Stadium

Cats players hit the track in small groups to continue preparations for a resumption of the 2020 season, which is now just three weeks away, with Chris Scott believing the squad is in good shape to hit the ground running.

“We’re trying to judge where our players are at; we don’t have too many red flags at the moment,” he said.

“Jack [Steven] is the obvious one, but with the odd exception, our guys seem to be in really good shape.

“It’s hard to judge until you get into full contact training which won’t happen until next week, but the early signs are pretty positive.”

CATS: HE WAS THE VICTIM OF SOMETHING QUITE SERIOUS

In a strange twist of fate, the two-month lockdown may have benefitted Geelong as much as any club in the league, with a host of star players nursing injury concerns into Round 1.

“It was clear we had a lot of players that didn’t quite have the preparation we would have liked them to have,” Scott admitted.

“We played [Joel] Selwood – he’s much better for the lockdown period, Mitch Duncan is very similar.[Sam] Menegola is similar.

“[Jake] Kolodjashnij looks like he’ll be able to join in training- he was months away from playing in Round 1, so it’s helped him.

[Nakia] Cockatoo will be training, but I caution against being too optimistic there; there’s a fair bit we need to see before we talk about him playing.”

One player that Scott has little concern for is Gary Ablett, with the veteran superstar said to be in excellent shape on return to the club.

“He was ready to go Round 1 and is ready to go now. I don’t think it’s going to lengthen his career; I think he’ll be ok for 2020, but we’ll get that out of the way before we think about the future,” Scott said with a laugh.

“Time will tell, but I think it’s neutral. I think he’s had a pretty good couple months from what I can see, but he was pretty good anyway.”

With the AFL yet to reveal the complete structure of the modified fixture for Round 2 and beyond, Scott weighed in on the growing outside belief that the Cats should be able to play all home games at GMHBA Stadium.

“I think my position on it has been really clear,” he said.

“If you go back to last year, I probably repeated exactly the same thing. In principle, teams should play their 11 home games where they choose.

“My understanding is that there will be some guidance on the fixture tomorrow, but I haven’t heard anything, just speculation at this stage.

“But the clubs don’t have any influence over the fixture.

“Sometimes we speak to what we think is fair and what’s not, but that doesn’t imply it has any cut through with the decision making.”

Twitter: @KanePitman