K rock Football

Cocky to be eased back

Nakia Cockatoo in action in a VFL practice match in 2018. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

GEELONG speedster Nakia Cockatoo will be eased back into action after being named to return from a long-term knee injury in Sunday’s VFL clash with Port Melbourne.

The 22-year-old has not played at any level in more than a year, but shapes as a possible wildcard for the Cats in September.

“It will be exciting if we get him up and get him through a game of football, which has been a bit of a wait for us,” Geelong VFL coach Shane O’Bree said.

“We’ll definitely ease him back in, and it’s more just about how Nakia feels and making him feel comfortable playing a game of football and getting through what he needs to get through.

“The good thing is he’s done a lot of work. We did a fair bit of match simulation (on Wednesday night), and he was bowling a few guys over and stiff-arming them and using his speed and his assets.

“I think he’s pretty excited and feels good with where he’s at. We’ll play him through the midfield and get him around the ball and get the ball in his hands again.”

VFLW: CATS LOOK FOR ENERGY BOOST

Geelong is fresh off a VFL bye and could climb as high as fifth on the ladder with a win at Port’s Adcon Stadium.

O’Bree is still waiting to finalise his team, with the Cats to decide which players it will send home from Perth.

Rhys Stanley will share ruck duties with Ryan Abbott after losing his place in the senior side.

The Cats face three top-eight opponents in their final four VFL home-and-away matches but have welcomed the challenge ahead of the finals.

“You get to play teams that are around you (on the ladder), and you get to dictate where you end up at the end of the season,” O’Bree said.

“All four are really quality teams and going into the finals you want to be playing against the best teams to test yourself out.

“Hopefully we win a couple, and that puts us in a good position at the end of the season.”

Cats co-captain Aaron Black will wear the number ‘0’ as part of the ‘Towards Zero’ round, supporting road safety.

Port Melbourne snapped a four-match losing streak with a win over lowly Coburg last week and will celebrate milestone matches for Khan Haretuku (150 VFL games) and Shannen Lange (100).

Twitter: @shayne_hope

VFL ROUND 18

PORT MELBOURNE (5th) vs. GEELONG (7th)

Adcon Stadium

Sunday, August 4, 2:00pm