QUINTON Narkle has continued to build into form against the Essendon reserves side following his return from a hamstring injury.
Narkle won plenty of the ball and kicked a goal, playing a full match as an inside midfielder in his second full Reserves outing this season.
The tough Cat has regained confidence in his body.
“It was up high so it took a little longer than a normal hammy,” he says.
“I’m feeling really free and can run better and I’m starting to get that match fitness back. Hopefully I can put a few good games together and work my way back up.
Narkle benefitted from the return Darcy Fort from bone stress in his foot, roving off the returning ruckman to win a number of strong clearances.
“It’s always nice to rove off Darcy Fort,” Narkle says.
“Him and Sav were excellent, even when big Sam De Koning came in he had a few good contests, he can grab it and run and that’s good when your ruckmen are going forward with it.
“I really wanted to take pride in that (clearance work) today and have a good crack at it so I was just playing the contest where I know I’m strong.”
Jordan Clark was the pick of the Cats, returning to defence from the wing and offering sharp ball use and dash from the back six.
Cooper Stephens moved up the ground and found a lot of the ball in a quarter and a half as an inside midfielder, before sitting out the rest of the match as a carryover emergency.
“He’s a hard worker and tries to put 100 per cent into everything he does so it’s good playing inside with him and he’s going to be a good player,” Narkle says.
Ben Jarvis showed the form that has frequently put him in contention to make his Cats debut, pushing high up the ground from the forward 50 and taking plenty of strong marks around the ground.
“He plays like Esava Ratugolea really, he takes some good grabs and plays really tall,” Narkle says.
“He’s a really skilful player as well and he can go back and finish really well.”
Small forward Jake Tarca got a taste of midfield action and turned heads with his play, including fast-paced run-down tackle on Connor McKenna.
Up forward Esava Ratugolea and Nakia Cockatoo both managed to kick two goals.
Irish Cat Stefan Okunbor played his best game since returning from an injured achilles, generating two shots on goal from defence and finishing with a goal and some strong intercepts.
Both the Essendon and Geelong sides had guest appearances from St Kilda players with the Saints helping to make up the numbers on the afternoon.
The two sides were too close to split, with both lineups winning portions of the play in strong wind at the Aspley Hornets Football club just outside of Brisbane.