K rock Football

Surgery to end Nakia’s AFL hopes

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

NAKIA Cockatoo’s hopes of a return to AFL action in 2020 have been dashed with the luckless Geelong forward set to undergo wrist surgery.

Coach Chris Scott revealed the 23-year-old had been playing with the issue during scratch matches, but the call has been made for him to return to Victoria for the procedure with his partner, who is heavily pregnant.

“He has a wrist issue that we’ve been trying to find a way through over the last couple of weeks to give him the option of playing for us this season – and that hope is all but extinguished now, unfortunately,” Scott said.

“That’s disappointing to us and Nakia.

“But, we’re still supremely confident that he’s going to be an important player to us in the future.

“So, we’re going to prioritise what’s best for him long-term, get him back to Melbourne, get his wrist operated on, let him enjoy a great time in his life with the arrival of his first child, and give him enough time to prepare well for a pre-season with the Cats.”

Scott said Cockatoo, who played the last of his 34 AFL matches in Round 3, 2018, was still on the Gold Coast.

“We’re just making arrangements to get him back to Melbourne and taking care of all the logistical issues that we need to,” he said.

Geelong looks set to make three changes for tomorrow night’s blockbuster clash with Richmond at Metricon Stadium.

Rhys Stanley (groin), Zac Tuohy (chest/ribs) and Jack Steven (jaw) are all likely to return, while Gary Rohan will play despite sitting out the final quarter of the win over Essendon.

However, Joel Selwood will again be sidelined as the Cats take the conservative approach with the captain.

The 32-year-old hasn’t played since the win over Port Adelaide in Round 12 due to a knee issue.

“He’s training unencumbered – has been for some time,” Scott said.

“We’ve got a plan we think is going to leave him best placed to play really well in the finals series.”

Twitter: @tom_king79