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Danger back to best in Cats match simulation

February 18, 2018 12:58 PM

Patrick Dangerfield showed good signs on Saturday - Geelong Cats,Patrick Dangerfield

Patrick Dangerfield showed good signs on Saturday

SUPERSTAR Cat Patrick Dangerfield has shaken off a sore back to be close to his devastating best during match simulation at Geelong training on Saturday.

Dangerfield has been on modified duties at training over the last month after nursing some soreness in his back, with the 2016 Brownlow medallist slowly integrating back into main training over the last two weeks.

Donning a blue and white visor, the gun midfielder looked powerful and determined during a lengthy session of match play at the Cats' open training session at GMHBA Stadium.

While Dangerfield's ability to find the footy with ease and burst clear from stoppages was on display, it was also a good opportunity for Geelong's coaching staff and its fans to see how the combination of their star midfield trio might work this season.

Dangerfield, Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood all started in the midfield for the 'blue' team, which basically resembled close to the Cats' preferred line up heading into the upcoming JLT Community Series.

As he has been all pre-season long, Ablett was again prominent – especially in the way he worked into gaps around the ground. Selwood moved nicely and linked up well through the middle of the ground, driving the ball his way on a number of occasions.

Second-year youngster Brandan Parfitt, who gave a glimpse of his talent with 15 games in the blue and white hoops in his debut season, was also among the 'blue' team's best.

Parfitt possesses outstanding evasive skills and he used those to his advantage to deliver the ball inside 50.

 

Defender Zach Tuohy set up the play from half-back for the 'blue' team and was a real go-to man, while, interestingly Mark Blicavs, who played in the AFLX tournament on Thursday night, spent large portions of the game working into defence.

With Lachie Henderson in doubt for round one, as coach Chris Scott told AFL.com.au exclusively on Friday, playing down back may be a sign of things to come for the versatile utility.

For the 'white' team, which was made up of young players including Jordan Cunico, Mark O'Connor and a couple of VFL top-ups, Wylie Buzza competed strongly up forward while draftee Gryan Miers demonstrated his aerobic capacity by pushing up and down the ground.

Midfielder George Horlin-Smith who had his work cut out for him up against Dangerfield, Selwood, Ablett and Mitch Duncan, who got involved in the play by floating forward a few times, also battled hard in the guts for the 'white' team.

In between the allocated match practice sessions, the players completed the running component of training which included repeat sprints and grappling in bright and sunny conditions at Kardinia Park.

Henderson watched a lot of the session but did not take part in any drills, while Tom Stewart sat training out after playing three AFLX games on Thursday night.

Fellow injured Cats Lincoln McCarthy (groin) and Scott Selwood (ankle) were also sidelined, with the latter also in significant doubt for round one after surgery late last month.

Up to 2000 Cats fans were in attendance, which coincided with the club's family festival, with players signing autographs at the end of the session.

Geelong's first JLT game is against Gold Coast in Townsville on Saturday March 4.