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Cockatoo flies in time-trial

Ben Guthrie - AFL Media  February 1, 2016 7:28 PM

Blicavs vs Menegola II There was a showdown at Geelong College today as two heavyweights of distance running went toe to toe
AFL 2015 Training - Geelong 231115

Nakia Cockatoo is super-fit as the NAB Challenge nears

GEELONG youngster Nakia Cockatoo was one of the standout performers in the club's 15-minute time trial on Monday as he continued his impressive pre-season.

There was little movement at the top after the first gruelling test in December with gun athlete Mark Blicavs and mature-age recruit Sam Menegola taking first and second place at Geelong College's senior campus.

As in the first race, George Horlin-Smith came third while Michael Luxford, who was permanently elevated to the primary list at the end of last season, further enhanced his outstanding pre-season with a strong showing.

The players were divided into two groups for the test and while Blicavs and Menegola came up trumps in the first group, it was Cockatoo who shone in the second group.

Cameron Guthrie, who has been slated to play more in defence in 2016, also improved on his result before Christmas.

Cockatoo's fitness has been greatly boosted throughout the pre-season, with the 19-year-old even training with the club's midfield group.

The speedster and Luxford, alongside Horlin-Smith, have been the young players to take their fitness to the next level this pre-season.

Cockatoo, pick No.10 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft, played 11 games in his first season in 2015.

He showed glimpses of his breakaway speed and natural athleticism last season but was cautiously managed through the season due to a number of niggles.

Despite Blicavs' obvious athletic prowess, Menegola, pick No.66 in last year's draft, is an outstanding endurance athlete and pushed the 2015 Carji Greeves medallist the whole way.

But it was the 198cm's nous and running experience that saw him finish the furthest after 15 minutes.

"I learnt more about running the first time I ran behind him than I have my whole life," Menegola said on the club's website.

"He's awesome to watch. I'm loving having someone there who can test me like he can the whole way."

The Cats begin their NAB Challenge campaign against Collingwood at Simonds Stadium on February 26.