BIG man Esava Ratuolgea will make his long-awaited return to Geelong’s AFL team in Friday’s JLT Series clash with West Coast.
The 20-year-old, who suffered a broken ankle against Carlton in late May, has confirmed he will be on the plane to Perth.
“I’m very excited,” Ratugolea said. “I’ve said this a few times: you sort of get tired of playing against your own teammates, really, so it will be good to play against some other bodies from other teams.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a while, so I can’t wait.”
However, Ratugolea admits the contest against the Blues that caused the damage will be on his mind before taking on the Eagles.
He is looking forward to getting the first contest where he lands on the ankle out of the way.
“I guess when I do it (land), it will be a bit of a relief,” Ratugolea.
“I just can’t wait to go out there and attack the ball.
“Just another way to build my confidence and get this game out of the way and the feel good about myself going forward.”
Ratuolgea was a revelation during the first half of 2018 before the injury, playing predominantly as a forward, while also spending time in the ruck.
He returned to play two games in Geelong’s VFL team, but after the Cats exited the AFL finals, he was pulled from the team to play Box Hill in a semi-final, instead again going under the knife for a clean-up.
“It was pretty much just taking all the screws and plates out, (and) a bit of scrape in there where something was annoying me when I was kicking,” Ratugolea said.
“Coming off that surgery, I felt so much better than when I did my first surgery.
“I was in a moon boot (for) about nine days and I was walking again. It was pretty easy.”
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