Cats duo in fitness battle for Lions clash | Ralph-Lauren

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Geelong are sweating on the fitness of star duo Mitch Duncan and Tom Hawkins ahead of another AFL blockbuster against fellow flag contenders Brisbane.

Duncan (knee) and Hawkins (neck) were both injured during Friday night’s thrilling five-point win over the Western Bulldogs.

They have little time to prove their fitness, with the Cats facing a short six-day break before taking on the Lions at the Gabba.

Experienced midfielder Duncan fell awkwardly in a marking contest against the Bulldogs and was replaced by medical substitute Shaun Higgins in the opening 10 minutes.

“He’s got a knee injury that kept him out of the game (but) it’s always too early,” Geelong coach Chris Scott said post-match.

“I could make something up but I’d just be guessing and I think the medical staff are a bit the same as well.

“I don’t think there’s any reason at this stage to think that it’s a really severe injury, just one that meant he couldn’t play on.”

Geelong spearhead Hawkins hurt his neck during the last term and spent an extended period on the bench when the game was on the line.

Fortunately for the Cats, fellow forwards Jeremy Cameron and Gary Rohan stepped up with crucial final-quarter goals – the latter after the siren – to help drag their side over the line.

“I spoke to (Hawkins) really briefly post-game and he might have just pinched a nerve in his neck,” Scott said.

“He said it was sore but (there is) nothing structural to worry about as far as we know.

“It certainly limited him but I think we’re pretty hopeful that he’s okay.”

Scott said Lachie Henderson will likely return against Brisbane after the tall defender was a late withdrawal from the Bulldogs clash because of a hip injury.

Geelong believe they will be able to travel to Queensland and stay overnight, rather than conducting a fly-in, fly-out mission like they did for the Port Adelaide match in round 13.

“Given the fact that we’re in a regional area that hasn’t had a COVID case for almost a year, as long as people don’t go to Melbourne, we’re okay to fly into Queensland as everyone from regional Victoria is,” Scott said.

“(We’ll be under) AFL protocols, obviously, but we can spend a couple of days up there as Queenslanders.”

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