Geelong veteran Tom Hawkins is set for an interrupted off-season after battling a hampered foot injury that has lingered since the final two months of the Cats' triumphant 2022 campaign.
Hawkins claimed his third premiership to cap off a stellar 16th season at Kardinia Park, booting 67 goals for the year, including three in the grand final, to lead the competition's count.
Set to enter a 17th season, despite no contract confirmed by the club, Hawkins may require surgery on an ailment that has troubled the 34-year-old since the latter stages of the season.
According to News Corp, Hawkins may need to go under the knife to repair a foot injury he dealt with for the final two months of the premiership campaign.
Geelong football boss Simon Lloyd has revealed the Cats are weighing up surgery for their champion forward.
“He did experience some soreness in his foot in the later part of the season but was able to play with it which is testament to him and the medical staff,” Lloyd said.
“We will get all the information before we decide on the best course of recovery but anticipate he will be right for the start of next season.”
Surgery is unlikely to damage Hawkins' chances of playing in Geelong's season opener as reigning premiers next year, however it could place some delay on his pre-season preparations.
The Cats are likely to enter the 2023 season favoured for another flag, having bolstered their list with promising young talent through the trade period.
Tanner Bruhn. Ollie Henry and Jack Bowes will all add healthy competition come selection, while Geelong are also equipped with Pick 7 for the National Draft.
The Cats did bid farewell to captain Joel Selwood following their premiership win, with the club great leaving a large void in the midfield and leadership depths.