Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield has eased fears over a lingering groin injury, declaring himself “pain-free” and fit to play at least a small role in next week’s AFL preseason hit-out against Collingwood.
The 30-year-old battled the fitness complaint late last season and has been on a modified training program over summer.
He has no concerns about his availability for the Cats’ round-one meeting with Adelaide, but conceded it will take him some time to fire on all cylinders.
“It’s all pretty positive at the moment,” Dangerfield said after Thursday’s training sesson.
“We had a good hit-out today and it was sort of my first match sim, albeit not a huge amount, but a little bit, which is good.
“It always takes a little bit longer (to reach peak fitness).
“That being said, games makes it easier and the continuity of playing is always an adjustment anyway.
“It’s probably not ideally where I’d like to be but the most important thing is I’m moving around fairly free and pain-free, which is good.”
Dangerfield has been impressed by experienced recruits Jeremy Cameron, Isaac Smith and Shaun Higgins during preseason, with the trio brought in to bolster Geelong’s bid to go one better than last year’s grand-final defeat to Richmond.
The Cats will use the modified match practice against Collingwood on Friday week and an official preseason match against Essendon to build chemistry with their new teammates.
“That’s the challenge and it’s still going to be a work in progress even once the season does start,” Dangerfield said.
“As we’re all aware, COVID has thrown its little challenges at us throughout this preseason and who knows what the future holds.
“So that’s the challenge for us and the more work we put in on the track, the better it feels and the better we’re all starting to gel.”