Geelong livewire Nakia Cockatoo has put his hand up for round one after an explosive performance in Friday night's VFL practice match against Werribee.
The 21-year-old kicked two goals and picked up 15 disposals, looking a cut above rotating between midfield and attack in a statement he's ready for Melbourne at the MCG in nine days' time.
He showed no signs of the calf complaint that ruled him out of Geelong's two JLT Community Series matches, playing three quarters before heading to the bench with cramp.
"I hope I did my best to hopefully put my hand up for round one," Cockatoo said post-game.
"Just cramp, the calf is fine, didn't feel it at all. It took a while to warm up but once I got moving I didn't feel it at all."
Missing 11 of the last 13 games of 2017 with two separate hamstring injuries, Cockatoo thought he was headed for the same path with yet another soft tissue setback three weeks ago.
"I was like, 'here we go again'," he said.
"I felt good going into the game, fit, healthy, just looking forward to hopefully training next week and hopefully getting a game (against Melbourne)."
VFL coach Shane O'Bree said Cockatoo ticked most boxes.
"His footy tonight shows what 'Cocky's' capable of. His intensity around the contests, when he goes forward he impacts in the air and on the ground," he said.
"He had a certain amount of kilometres he had to get through tonight and we were pretty happy with where he's at."
AFL coach Chris Scott said the calf injury could be a blessing in disguise.
"He's done a fair bit of work through the pre-season, it's only been a little mishap late that's kept him out. If anything, we think that might freshen him up a little bit," Scott said.
"It went to plan in terms of his minutes, he looked pretty sharp we thought. He couldn't have done much more."
New Cat Stewart Crameri, playing his first competitive minutes of the summer, was one of 11 AFL-listed Cats to play in the 67-point win.
The former Bomber and Bulldog got through unscathed after a long-term hip complaint but failed to tear the door down for a round one berth.
"We've got to think long and hard about what his best introduction into AFL footy is," Scott said.
"He's done quite a bit of running volume through the pre-season so we've got a level of confidence around his overall condition, it's just match practice he's missed."
Cory Gregson looked lively with forward pressure in his return from an abdominal strain that ruled him out of Geelong's second JLT clash. He will push for his first AFL berth since round 14, 2016 after a persistent foot injury.
George Horlin-Smith and Jordan Murdoch accumulated plenty of footy to show they're ready for a midfield spot early in the AFL season if required.
Round one aspirant Lachlan Fogarty looked calm with ball in hand and will give Scott something to consider for the season-opener.
After one pre-season match for Geelong's senior team, Esava Ratugolea kicked a goal, spent time in the ruck and crashed packs in attack.
Meanwhile, rookie-listed Jack Henry may have found his role as an intercept defender – timely with the retirements of Tom Lonergan and Andrew Mackie.