NAKIA Cockatoo will return to Melbourne ahead of the birth of his first child and to undergo surgery on an injured wrist.
The dynamic Cat has played six consecutive full scratch matches after overcoming the knee and hamstring complaints that dogged him in 2019.
“He has a wrist injury that requires surgery that we’ve been trying to find a way through over the last couple of weeks to give him the option of playing for us this season,” Cats coach Chris Scott says.
“It came up in one of the scratch matches… it was an acute injury that allowed him to play through it for a period of time, but it was always clear that it was going to require surgery at the end of the season.
“He has a baby on the way with his partner and that’s influencing his thinking.
“It’s just developed to the point where we don’t feel comfortable with him continuing to try and play through it, especially with all the other issues around Nakia’s injury history and the things that he should prioritise in his personal life as well.”
Scott says the decision for Cockatoo to return home was made with his best interests at heart.
“It’s disappointing for us and Nakia obviously but we’re still supremely confident that he’s going to be an important play for us in the future,” Scott says.
“We’re going to prioritise what’s best for him long-term, get him back to Melbourne, get his wrist operated on and let him enjoy a great time in his life with the arrival of his first child, and give him enough time to prepare well for a pre-season with the Cats.
“He’s still in the hub, we’re just making arrangements to get him back to Melbourne and take care of all the logistical issues that we need to.”