Jack urged to back his instincts

March 6, 2020 5:00 pm in by
Geelong recruit Jack Steven tries on the Hoops for the first time. (Geelong Cats Image/David McPherson)

JACK Steven has given the green light to back his ability when he makes his first appearance for Geelong in Monday’s second and final pre-season clash with Essendon.

The four-time St Kilda best-and-fairest, who joined the Cats last October, is among six inclusions for the Labour Day meeting with the Bombers at Colac’s Central Reserve.

“I always like to, as a coach, want the players to back their instincts and play with creativity, and he’ll do that,” midfield coach Matthew Knights said.

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“He’s a natural ball-winner and a natural creator, so we expect to see some really great stuff out of Jack.

“We haven’t got any huge expectations on what he needs (to do) or anything to do with numbers.

“It’s just about him getting out there and showing what he can do, and also supporting his teammates.”

Also named in the 30-man squad after missing the loss to Gold Coast on February 22 were Brandan Parfitt, Jack Steven, Sam Menegola, Jack Henry, Luke Dahlhaus and Mark O’Connor.

All six will play so with only managed pair Cam Guthrie and Lachie Henderson as the confirmed outs so far, four players that took on the Suns will be left out and play in the VFL curtain-raiser against Essendon.

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Captain Joel Selwood will again be missing as he works his way back to full fitness following off-season hamstring surgery.

“It was always going to be pushing the envelope pretty hard to play this game, albeit his prep in the last month’s been excellent – he’s done a lot of training; a lot of running and conditioning,” Knights said

“He had a good session today (Friday) out at Deakin, trained well. But we didn’t feel like it was the right thing to play him in this game.

“He’s comfortable with that, and he’s looking forward to having some big sessions next week on the training track, and he’s going very well.”

Mitch Duncan is also in the mix to take on the GWS Giants in Round 1 despite having his pre-season interrupted by elbow and hip surgery.

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“Mitch had a fantastic session today; he did all the training – all 65-70 minutes – and his last couple of weeks has seen him come along quite quickly,” Knights said.

“That was another positive on the track, as well as having 40 on the track.

“That was a real tonic for us today.”

However, Nakia Cockatoo wasn’t among the main group as he works his way back from a hamstring setback.

Knights says there is no timeframe for when they hope the luckless 23-year-old.

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“(He’s) not close to full training. He’s doing graded running and conditioning, but he’s not in any training at this stage,” Knights said.

“It’s something that’s going to be slow and really gradual.”

Twitter: @tom_king79