Tom Hawkins only hopeful of playing for Geelong in semi-final

Tom Hawkins says his back is “feeling good” but he is no better than hopeful of playing on Friday night and admits the ongoing compliant is a “day-to-day” proposition.

The Cats power forward said he had benefited from missing Saturday’s qualifying final loss to Fremantle but the week’s rest was no guarantee he would be fit for the semi-final against Port Adelaide at the MCG.

Asked by reporters on Monday if he was confident of playing against the Power, Hawkins responded: “hopefully”.

“I’m thinking I will be right to play,” he said.

“It’s feeling good. The week off came at a nice time. I just didn’t think I could get myself through the game last week.

“So hopefully I will do everything I can this week and will hopefully play, but we’ll wait and see.”

Hawkins confirmed the diagnosis that his back injury can feel particularly bad on certain days, but then manageable on others.

“It’s just given me a bit of trouble throughout the year and it’s just hard to tell how I’m going to be feeling from day-to-day,” he said.

“Hopefully it feels good for the next couple of weeks.”

On Tuesday, Geelong coach Chris Scott said Hawkins had shown some encouraging signs on the training track early this week, and is set to name him in the team for Friday’s final against Port Adelaide.

But a final decision on whether his ongoing back complaint will allow him to take the field won’t be made until the day of the MCG encounter.

”It was a good day yesterday so we’re hoping it will be a good week and most importantly that he feels good on Friday,’’ said Scott.

”If that’s the case he’ll play, but as we’ve said for the last couple of weeks it really is an issue that can flare suddenly and he can be quite ordinary and not good enough to play and at other times he feels almost normal.

”… As an optimist we’re thinking he’ll be right and close to his best and we’ll certainly play him if that’s the case.

”But it’s a decision that we won’t make for certain until Friday morning.’’

If Hawkins is unavailable, Scott flagged the possibility of calling up key forward Shane Kersten to make his AFL debut in a finals match. Kersten, 20, has been close to a senior debut several times this year, only to be cut down with injury.

Two of the game’s greatest forwards, Wayne Carey and Matthew Lloyd, both agree Geelong should take the risk on playing Hawkins – even if he is not at full fitness – against the Power.

The champion pair surmised that the structural presence Hawkins provides is more valuable than any alternative the Cats have at their disposal, including his replacement last week Josh Walker.

“I think he just has to play,” Lloyd said on Channel Nine on Monday night.

“Some people say that you can’t take an injured player in and I was of that position last week,” he said.

“But I think Hawkins, at 50 or 60 per cent, at least he may be able to kick two or three goals which Walker wasn’t capable of doing last week.”

Hawkins 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 trying to balance managing the soreness while also getting through training. How much mobility the power forward can show is the main issue.

He had been forced to scale down his training recently.

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

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