Geelong forward Tom Hawkins has trained strongly despite an ongoing back complaint in a bid to win a recall for Friday night’s AFL semi-final against Port Adelaide.
Cats’ midfielder Steven Motlop says Hawkins showed during match-simulation drills at Simonds Stadium that he’s fit enough to take his place in the team for the MCG clash after the 2012 club champion was a late withdrawal for last week’s qualifying-final loss to Fremantle.
“He kicked a couple of nice goals and took a couple of nice grabs, so he was moving well,” Motlop said on Wednesday.
“It was better than what I’ve seen him move in the last few weeks. Hopefully they do selection today and he’s in.
“He usually plays on Harry Taylor or Tom Lonergan when we do match-simulation. He was mostly on Harry today.
“Harry’s a very good player, so they weren’t doing anything half-hearted.”
However emerging midfielder Josh Caddy didn’t train with the main group because of an ankle injury.
Motlop says he’s expecting Port to be a handful for Geelong after Port’s upset win over Collingwood last week.
“They really take the game on,” Motlop told the AFL website.
“It’s a big test for our defence. We pride ourselves on our defence, but we let a couple of easy goals in last week.”
Geelong captain Joel Selwood says last week’s loss is a reminder that a patchy effort won’t win games in September.
“You’ve got to be harder for longer,” he said.
“I think we already knew that but it just reinforced it.
“We obviously played poorly at stages throughout the weekend, we just can’t do that this week.
“We were poor for a long part of the game.
“It’s something that we did do a little bit throughout the year but we’ll make sure we get it right now.”
The Cats were thrashed in the hit-outs, leading to the Dockers winning two-thirds of the clearances.
Selwood said it was hard to criticise inexperienced Geelong ruckmen Nathan Vardy and Mark Blicavs, given both are considerably shorter than Fremantle’s 211cm ruckman Aaron Sandilands.
“We’ll be better around there this weekend,” he said.
“We don’t have a monster that we’re rucking against.
“(Port ruckman Matthew) Lobbe’s been extremely impressive in the past month especially.
“But we really back in our young guys to do the job and we’ve got to make sure we work harder underneath them.”