Danger in doubt but look who’s back

Patrick Dangerfield is still a doubt for round one.
Patrick Dangerfield is still a doubt for round one.

AN MRI scan is set to reveal the extent of Patrick Dangerfield's hamstring injury but Geelong is buoyant about the prospects of midfield pair Gary Ablett and Nakia Cockatoo playing in Round 1.

Dangerfield said on Monday his hamstring felt 'pretty good' but admitted that being his first injury to that part of his body it was difficult to judge.

The typical recovery time for hamstring injuries is three weeks (it will have been two weeks between the incident and Geelong's season-opener on March 25), but the timeframe can vary depending on the magnitude of the damage.

Ablett is recovering from his own hamstring injury suffered on February 22 and was part of a group of players that trained in Geelong on Saturday, including Cockatoo, Stewart Crameri and Scott Selwood.

Patrick Dangerfield at GMHBA Stadium. Picture: Peter Ristevski
Patrick Dangerfield at GMHBA Stadium. Picture: Peter Ristevski

He will increase his workload again on Wednesday when he joins the main training group, but a call on whether he plays in a VFL practice match on Friday night won't be made until after that session.

The Cats will have a second, lengthy hitout on Friday and could choose to put Ablett and Cockatoo through their paces there instead of rushing them into a competitive match situation.

Geelong football manager Simon Lloyd said Ablett's chances of recovering in time to take on the Demons continue to grow, while Selwood was also on track to return in the first month of the season.

"We had a number of players, Nakia Cockatoo, Scott Selwood, Gary Ablett and Stewart Crameri, all train on Saturday. They all pulled up really well and are working around the clock to get themselves right for the start of the season and beyond," Lloyd said.

"The positive thing this week is there will be a large number of players who we didn't see on the weekend that will be in full training.

Gary Ablett joins in at training. Picture: Mike Dugdale
Gary Ablett joins in at training. Picture: Mike Dugdale

"There is a big group of players who have been doing a lot of work where you haven't necessarily seen them playing games through JLT, but they have still been doing a lot of work and are in contention for Round 1.

"Scott Selwood is going well and he will do a good session this Wednesday and similar to what we've been saying all along, it will be between Round 1 and Round 4 for Scott (to return to playing)."

Rhys Stanley will also learn his fate on Tuesday after injuring his calf during the opening quarter of the Cats' four-point loss to Essendon on Sunday.

His potential loss opens the door for Esava Ratugolea or Wylie Buzza to push for Round 1 selection, but how the Cats cope without Dangerfield is the biggest query.

The two-time Carji Greeves medallist said it was clearly not the way he had wanted to finish his pre-season campaign but added that all he could do was wait to see what showed up on his scans.

"I will wait until (Tuesday) and see how it is, it feels pretty good," Dangerfield said.

"I've never done a hammy before, so without having done one, it's hard to say where it's at."

Topics:  afl gary ablett geelong cats patrick dangerfield

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