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No slowing down for Falcons

(Geelong Falcons Image/Brian Bartlett)

IT might be a bye week, but there’ll be no rest for a squad of Geelong Falcons this Saturday morning.

While their TAC Cup rivals are relaxing, the Falcons will be put through a quick, high-intensity training session at Deakin University to ensure they’re physically and mentally sharp for the final three weeks of their regular season.

Coach Danny O’Keefe said the training session has been part of their end-of-season planning and they’ll work the squad pretty hard with running sessions and some match simulation.

“We’ll go through a couple of scenarios (mimicking) towards the end of games or quarters, if we’re in front or behind and things like that just to make sure our mind set is sharp,” O’Keefe told krockfootball.com.au

“It’s a great opportunity to get some really good kilometres in our legs to physically know we’ve done the work, but also mentally.

“It goes a long way in regards to when we get to these next three games, which are tough games, and then finals, we feel like we’ve done the work.

“We’ve got something to prove this year and there’s a purpose there at the end of the season for us.”

The top-of-the table Falcons face the Murray Bushrangers (third), Eastern Ranges (sixth) and Dandenong Stingrays (fifth) leading into the first week of the finals.

They’re set to receive a boost with 200cm ruckman Dane Hollenkamp poised to return from more than two months on the sidelines for next Sunday’s clash with the Bushrangers in Ballarat.

Hollenkamp has played just one quarter of football in two seasons on the Falcons list after suffering a season-ending ACL injury in the 2016 pre-season and breaking his collarbone twice this year.

But the 17-year-old has some attributes that appeal to AFL recruiters, having earned an invite to October’s State Draft Combine along with teammates Josh Jaska, Cassidy Parish, Harry Benson and co-captain Cooper Stephens.

O’Keefe said Hollenkamp only needs to get through training next week and he’ll return for his first match since Round 8.

“We’ve planned without him, but obviously we’re there for him to make sure that we gave him the best opportunity, potentially, to play,” O’Keefe said.

“So the fact that he’s coming back is a bit of a bonus and we’re hanging to see how he goes.

“Even though Dane hasn’t played that much, he’s proven that when he does play – even if it is for 60 minutes – that he’s got talent, ability and a lot of development left in him.”

The Falcons will also regain Jack Henderson, Ned McHenry, Oscar Brownless and Jarrod Walters from school football commitments.

That leaves Bayley Cockerill (finger) and Ethan Floyd (collarbone) as the absentees from their best line-up, but both are expected to be available for either the final round clash against the Stingrays or the first final.

“That’s exciting not just for the players, but the coaching group and the staff, and it also keeps your players on their toes and keeps them training hard,” O’Keefe said.

Twitter: @GreenBradley