Geelong fit and firing for AFL restart

Geelong carried multiple underdone players into their round one AFL clash, but will have almost a full squad to choose from once games resume on June 11.

CHRIS SCOTT, Coach of the Cats.
CHRIS SCOTT, Coach of the Cats. Picture: Adam Trafford/Getty Images

The two-month AFL shutdown has allowed Geelong's wounded list to regroup to a point where they may be able to stage mini intraclub games.

Preparing footballers outside the best 22 has become a major issue for clubs after the league ruled no AFL-listed players can take part in second-tier competitions like the VFL amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AFL is mulling over whether to hold scratch matches between rival clubs to ensure game practice for fringe players when the competition resumes on June 11.

Cats coach Chris Scott says a number of key players, including captain Joel Selwood and midfielder Mitch Duncan, have benefited from time away after entering their round one clash against GWS off injury-riddled pre-seasons.

Apart from recruit Jack Steven, who is recovering from a mysterious stab wound over the weekend, Geelong's players have arrived back at training in good shape.

"The eight weeks has been good for a lot of those guys," Scott told reporters on Thursday.

"We went into round one, we thought we were picking the best team, but we clearly had a lot of players who didn't quite have the preparation we would've liked them to have had.

"Selwood is much better for the lockdown period, Mitch Duncan is very similar, (Sam) Menegola is similar.

"The AFL are working pretty hard to get us some sort of match practice opportunity against another AFL team, we're not exactly sure what format that might entail.

"Getting those guys some match practice is really hard if you only have 30 fit players, but we're a bit better than that so we think the next couple of weeks will tell us a bit."

Injury-riddled forward Nakia Cockatoo will be eased back into training to protect his troublesome hamstrings, while defender Jake Kolodjashnij is recovering well from hip surgery in January.


AAP