Following their practice match loss against Brisbane last night, Geelong assistant coach Shaun Grigg has revealed that spearhead Tom Hawkins is "looking fit" and is still a chance to play round one.
The news comes as a boost to the Cats, who suffered a pre-season loss to the Lions to the tune of 46 points in Queensland on Thursday.
The talk that their 2022 All-Australian captain may be ready for action sooner than expected will leave the Cats optimistic that last night's result was nothing more than a blip. Hawkins underwent foot surgery during the off-season and has missed both games so far this pre-season.
Despite their initial expectations that Hawkins would not be fit for the start of season 2023, Grigg offered Cats fans some hope by revealing the power forward is back out on the training track.
"It's probably a bit too early to say whether he'll be there round one or not, but certainly he's looking fit and moving around that forward line looking happy to be out on the track that's for sure," Grigg said.
It appeared as though the Cats were resting several key veterans last night ahead of the season opener, with Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron, Isaac Smith and Mark Blicavs all missing the game against the Lions.
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While the Cats managed their squad, the Lions were close to full strength and managed to get through the hit out largely unscathed, with the only concern being a "hip pointer" issue for Eric Hipwood.
The Lions two biggest name recruits shone brightly, with Josh Dunkley showing exactly why the Lions acquired him and Will Ashcroft looking every bit as good as he has been hyped to be.
The Lions were also pleased with the way Cam Rayner performed in his new role across half back, with Lions assistant coach Cameron Bruce keen to praise the former number one draft pick.
"He's got some physical attributes that are quite threatening as a defender. He can add a different dynamic to a great group." Bruce said.
Geelong's season gets underway on Friday, March 17 against Collingwood at the MCG, while Brisbane will face Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, March 18.