K rock Football

Cocky cracks in

Nakia Cockatoo celebrates one of his two goals in Geelong’s VFL win over Werribee at GMHBA Stadium. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

NAKIA Cockatoo has all but assured himself a spot in Geelong’s Round 1 line-up after getting through his first hit-out of 2018 in the Cats’ VFL practice match tonight.

Cockatoo moved strongly in the 67-point win over Werribee under lights at GMHBA Stadium and showed no ill-effects of the calf problem that kept him out of Geelong’s pre-season losses to Gold Coast and Essendon.

AFL coach Chris Scott was a keen on-looker as Cockatoo kicked two goals as Geelong triumphed 13.16 (94) to 4.3 (27) in its second VFL practice match.

The 21-year-old played the majority of the game in the midfield before being sent forward at the start of the final term, where he only played a few minutes before being rested for the remainder of the contest.

With Patrick Dangerfield and Gary Ablett under injury clouds ahead of Geelong’s opening round clash against Melbourne, Cockatoo shapes as a potential replacement in the Cats midfield.

VFL coach Shane O’Bree said it was a strong performance by Cockatoo, the Cats’ No.1 draft pick in 2014.

“I thought his intensity around the contest and his ability to get after the ball (was impressive),” O’Bree said after the match.

“He got through the game pretty well and he impacted in all areas and it was good to see him out there playing again.

“So hopefully he pulls up well.”

Recruit Stewart Crameri also got through his first game in Geelong colours in an encouraging sign.

But the former Essendon and Western Bulldogs forward had limited opportunities to influence the contest due to some tight Werribee defence and was kept goalless, kicking three behinds

“They had a defender dropping off in our deep forward space and he was doing a really good job and made it hard for Stewy at times,” O’Bree said.

“But it was good for him to get through a game of football. You could see his intent there and some of his kicking, he’ll keep working on that side of his game.

“But it was good to see Stewy playing footy again and I’m sure he was pumped about it and hopefully he’s another one that pulls up well.”

After missing last week due to an abdominal strain, Corey Gregson also moved freely in a sign that he won’t be too far from a return to AFL action.

Werribee’s Dom Brew was reported in the third term for an incident with Gregson.

Jordan Murdoch sent a reminder to Scott and his coaching panel that he has something to offer at the top level, kicking two goals and won a lot of the ball around the midfield.

George Horlin-Smith won plenty of contested ball while rookie Jack Henry impressed in defence.

Of the VFL list, recruit Sam Siggins impressed down back while captain Tom Atkins (two goals), James Gow and newcomer Luke Kiel also stood out.

St Joseph’s young gun Jackson McLachlan only played the first half but is already looming as a fan favourite with his pressure inside the Cats’ forward 50.

Geelong plays its final VFL practice game next Sunday – March 25 – against Footscray at the Whitten Oval.

Twitter: @GreenBradley

GEELONG  4.6, 6.10, 10.13, 13.16 (94)

WERRIBEE  1.1, 2.2, 3.2, 4.3 (27)

Goals; Geelong: Cockatoo, 2, Atkins 2, Murdoch 2, Cunico 2, Ratugolea, Gow, Hillman, Abbott, Kiel, Werribee: Berry, Declase, Munro, Brett

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