K rock Football

Mitch builds towards full fitness

Geelong midfielder Mitch Duncan. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

MITCH Duncan expects to be back in full training by Christmas as he recovers from a knee injury and off-season shoulder surgery.

The 28-year-old, who has signed a four-year contract extension that will keep him at Geelong until the end of 2024, had his 2019 season ended by a grade three medial ligament tear suffered in the qualifying final loss to Collingwood.

“(I’m) nearly right. Probably around the Christmas mark, I’ll be back to full training; that’s the plan at the moment,” Duncan said.

“It’s just a bit of slow build until then. My knee’s feeling really good. I started agility and a little bit of footy content on Tuesday and just build from there.

It was a pretty severe injury. We probably kept it under wraps a little; it as a grade three medial.

“It’s a matter of time now.”

Duncan suffered damage to his AC joint in the win over Carlton in Round 23 that required a clean-up.

“That’s pretty much nearly back to normal as well,” he said.

“It’s just building strength around there now, and we’ve got a long period of time to get it right.”

The midfielder admits it was tough being sidelined for the semi-final win over West Coast and preliminary final loss to Richmond.

However, Duncan used the misfortune as an opportunity to build his knowledge.

“I haven’t really been injured too much, especially at that time of year,” he said.

“It was a different perspective for me. I was sitting in the coaches’ box and trying to play my part there, and during the week, as well.

“To be honest, it was really exciting to help the playing group as much as I could, even though I wasn’t out there.

“It gave me a different perspective on the coaching outlook for down the track.”

Drafted from East Perth with pick No.28 in the 2009 National Draft, Duncan has made Geelong his home, marrying local girl Demi Miles.

“Demi’s been a massive part of my career … we’ve been together for seven years, started a family,” he said. “She doesn’t want to leave her family, that’s for sure.

It was a no-brainer (re-signing). I’m really excited about what the future holds for the footy club and myself and the family.”

Duncan is confident Geelong can continue the stunning run that has seen it contest 14 of the last 16 AFL finals series, and he hopes to add to the premiership he won as a 20-year-old

“I see a great coaching group, for one, that makes us play a great brand of footy that stacks up against the best sides,” he said.

“The playing group are really hard workers. And the young talent we saw on display last year; the likes of Gryan Miers, Jack Henry, Esava Ratugolea, Brandan Parfitt, the names could go on, Charlie Constable.

“Then we’ve got four picks in the draft this year. So a lot more talent’s coming in, which is great.

“Hopefully, it can keep the club up the top for my five years here.”


Twitter: @tom_king79