Cat Enright refuses to say die

Corey Enright and Fremantle’s Danyle Pearce battle for possession during the qualifying final on Saturday. Photo: Pat ScalaGeelong star Corey Enright is optimistic he can beat the odds and play again this year, provided the Cats keep winning.

The four-time All-Australian has basically ruled himself out of Friday night’s knockout semi-final against Port Adelaide, but is hopeful he can make a Steve Johnson-like recovery from his medial ligament knee injury to play in either a preliminary or grand final, if the Cats go that far.

Leading sports doctor Peter Larkins said on Monday the injury would normally sideline a player for three to four weeks if sustained mid-season, but some players tend to return quicker for finals.

As he left the club in a knee brace on Monday, Enright made it clear he would push his recovery to the limit to ensure his season was not over.

”I’m doing anything I can do to give it the best chance,” the soon-to-be 32-year-old said. ”We just need the boys to keep winning. It’s out of my control.”

Enright had scans on Monday and the club said it would have an official update on Tuesday.

The other major concern for the Cats is Tom Hawkins, who was a late withdrawal from Saturday’s qualifying final loss to Fremantle because of his back injury.

Hawkins, the Cats’ reigning best and fairest, is considered a strong chance to return, but a decision is unlikely to be made until later in the week as he tries to balance managing the soreness while also getting through training. How much mobility the power forward can show is the main issue.

It is believed the Cats had the back complaint under control for most of the season, but Hawkins has battled more soreness recently and has been forced to scale down his training.

Andrew Mackie (ankle), Steven Motlop (neck) and Josh Caddy, who was in a moon boot to help his left ankle at recovery on Sunday, are other worries for Geelong, and it is believed the club was also checking that Harry Taylor was clear of any damage to his shoulder.

In terms of selection, coach Chris Scott is certain to look at the make-up of his ruck division and whether Trent West needs to be brought in to stiffen up the resistance against Port Adelaide’s inform big man Matthew Lobbe.

The Power’s dangerous small forwards will also be high on the agenda, and with Enright out, premiership defender Josh Hunt comes back into the frame, as does Taylor Hunt, who was a late withdrawal against the Dockers but could be recalled to play a shutdown role on Travis Boak.

Given the Cats’ VFL team has advanced to the grand final, those on the fringe did not play last week but remain in full training, and the likes of Jordan Murdoch, Jackson Thurlow, George Horlin-Smith and others have also shown they can play at the senior level. Whether Josh Walker holds his place and Paul Chapman plays as the substitute are other questions for the selection committee to answer.

The Cats, stunned by Saturday’s loss at Simonds Stadium, will take on a Power team playing with the same nothing-to-lose attitude it used to create an even greater upset over Collingwood.

Speaking on Monday, Power captain Boak said his team had no fear. ”We have spoken about embracing it and enjoying the moment, enjoying the week and going into the game with nothing to lose,” he said. ”If we can embrace it and take the game on, we think we’ll be all right.”

Geelong has beaten Port in their past nine clashes, but Boak said Port had changed a lot in a short time.

”We need to learn from how we played against them the last two times … We just need to bring the same stuff that we did against Collingwood and embrace the whole finals atmosphere,” he said.

”We said at the start of the year that we have no limits on what we can achieve. That’s the way we have gone about it. We set about earning respect back at the start of the year and I think we are starting to do that.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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