LONERGAN FIT FOR CROWS PRELIM
GEELONG has declared key defender Tom Lonergan a certain starter for this Friday’s preliminary final against Adelaide.
The veteran backman was initially thought to have missed the Cats’ 59-point win over Sydney due to food poisoning but it is understood the soon-to-be retired star was suffering from a bout of gastro brought on by a viral infection.
At this stage Lonergan’s inclusion is the only definite selection change Geelong will make for the clash with the Crows, and given how well they played against the taller GWS Giants outfit in week one of the finals it means key forward Rhys Stanley may make way for his return.
Dynamic forward Nakia Cockatoo is knocking down the door and could make a late play for a recall after several weeks of hard work on the training track.
The 20-year-old suffered his third hamstring injury for the year in round 19 against Carlton – six weeks after doing it against West Coast in Round 13 in the opening quarter – but football manager Steve Hocking said the Cats would have no concerns bringing him into the team if he was ready to play.
“He (Cockatoo) has got a few in front of him at the moment so the performance on Friday night would say that he’d have to train fairly well to go past anyone,” Hocking said.
“They have got games under their belt and he has missed a few now, so it will just be up to the match committee to make a decision which way they go.
“He’s going well, he is one of a few that will be considered and it’s a nice problem to have that there are players available for selection.”
Cockatoo played in nine of Geelong’s first 12 matches but his more recent history with injuries means he would be a risk in such a huge game.
The Cats also revealed that scans to first-year defender Tom Stewart have cleared him of any serious hamstring damage.
The former South Barwon player was rested late in the win against the Swans as a precautionary measure after he experienced tightness in his hamstring throughout the match.
But Hocking said he was confident Stewart would have no issues getting up for this Friday night.
“We obviously had the game locked away so we weren’t surprised by the scans,” Hocking said
“As long as he gets through training it is more than likely there won’t be a test, but we’ll know more later in the week.”
Tom Stewart’s inspirational tackle on Luke Parker on Friday night.