GEELONG assistant coach Corey Enright has backed Sam Menegola to help fill the void left by the departure by star midfielder Tim Kelly.
While much of the focus has gone on St Kilda recruit Jack Steven and youngsters like Charlie Constable stepping up, Menegola has put his hand up for minutes at the coalface.
It comes in aa pre-season where he has consistently been in the upper echelon in the Cats’ running sessions.
A knee injury limited the 27-year-old was limited to just 12 games in 2019 after playing 45 of a possible 48 matches in the previous two seasons.
“He’s been really impressive; he’s a high-quality runner,” Enright said.
“He’s shown he’s a really good AFL player, and we just want to give him the best opportunity we can to find one or two positions that are going to help him, but complement us as a footy club.
“Going through that midfield – he’s ready to go.”
Menegola again ran strongly as Geelong resumed pre-season training on Thursday with a session at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus.
With just over six weeks until the Cats’ opening pre-season match against Gold Coast on February 21 and 71 days until the Round 1 meeting with the GWS Giants, Enright says the intensity of training will go up a couple of notches.
“You’ve got to give yourself for February and March when the pre-season games come around,” he said.
“The next 3-4 weeks are important in that we can get what we need in terms of game-style as well as our fitness and intensity so that we can get up to that near match-like intensity.”
Enright says the shift from a fitness focus to how Geelong wants to play in 2020 will be gradual.
“We built into the Christmas break, and now we’re ready to go and push the boys, and make sure we get the games we’re looking for, in terms of how we want to play footy.
“But, also, this time of year is also important to get those fitness levels right up to peak so we can hit the ground running.”