Geelong wingman Sam Menegola is understood to have been battling a bout of gastro in the days leading up to Friday night's preliminary final clash with Brisbane, a revelation that has emerged after rumours suggested the veteran Cat was left disgruntled at the club midweek.
Menegola was listed as an emergency for the eventual 71-point win over the Lions, joining Brandan Parfitt and Jonathon Ceglar while Mark O'Connor was named medical sub.
The 30-year-old has struggled to cement his place in Chris Scott's side this season due to an ongoing knee issue and a battle with concussion, while the emergence of youngster Max Holmes on the wing has perhaps also limited Menegola's opportunities at AFL level.
The Western Australian hasn't played since Round 22 despite being in the selection mix for most of the past month, with murmurs suggesting the situation may have left Menegola agitated.
According to SEN's Sam Edmund, the reports are incorrect, with Menegola's recent training absence due to illness after anger.
Edmund revealed on Saturday morning that Menegola had trained away from the main group on Thursday, and even sat through Friday's match in the car at the MCG.
“Rumours that Sam Menegola is disgruntled and missed Thursday training and didn‘t go to prelim as a result,” Edmund revealed via Twitter. "Opposite is true.
“Trained indoors Thursday, had gastro Friday morning. Improved by afternoon and given he was an emergency, drove to the MCG, sat in car to separate from group and then went home.
Rumours that Sam Menegola is disgruntled & missed Thu training & didn't go to prelim as a result. Opposite is true. Trained indoors Thu,had gastro Fri morning. Improved by arvo & given he was emergency,drove to MCG,sat in car to separate from group & then went home.What a clubman
— Sam Edmund (@Sammy__Edmund) September 17, 2022
“What a clubman.”
Menegola firms as a chance to gain a reprieve for the grand final, with Holmes placed under an injury could after suffering a hamstring injury against the Lions.
The young wingman was subbed out of the match and was visibly upset, yet the Cats remain optimistic about his chances of featuring in the season decider.
Parfitt or O'Connor will also be seen as viable replacements for Holmes, however Menegola is perhaps the best like-for-like replacement.
Geelong recorded no other injury concerns in their preliminary final win and currently await the scan results on Holmes' hampered hamstring.