A trio of slow-starting Cats will be ready to hit the ground running come the resumption of play on June 12 against the Hawks.
Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan and Sam Menegola faced a race to prove their fitness entering Round One and have benefitted from the extra time the shutdown period has provided to get their bodies right.
Midfield coach Matthew Knights is expecting big things from Duncan, who has now overcome the knee injury that ended his 2019 campaign.
Duncan suffered Grade 3 medial ligament damage in the side’s qualifying final loss to the Magpies last year, and underwent shoulder surgery over the offseason.
“I’m expecting a huge season from Mitch, I really am,” Knights said.
“Mitch Duncan’s been exemplary with the way he’s prepared himself. His body shape is great.
“He’ll obviously be relied upon to play that midfield role whether that be inside or on the wing.”
Captain Joel Selwood, who underwent hamstring surgery over the offseason, is now champing at the bit to take on the Hawks.
“He’s got a real thirst for the game again and I was lucky enough to be able to do some one-on-one sessions with him over the break,” Knights says.
“Just to see him go about his work, whether it was running or ball work, (he’s a) thorough professional and it’s given him really good prep time for this period.
“Now being able to get back into the body on body stuff, he’s feeling great. He’s looking forward to his captaincy and he’s looking forward to playing strong footy for the club so we’re all proud of the way he’s going.”
Sam Menegola is also primed to attack the season after utilising the break to reach peak fitness.
“It’s great for Sam, he’s in good shape,” Knights says.
“Sam’s had plenty of prep time. Sam’s really big with his fitness and his training, he’s a real self-driven athlete and he’ll be in really tip-top shape come Hawthorn in a couple of weeks.”