Danger signs good in AFL practice match
Patrick Dangerfield moved well as Geelong got their first look at Jeremy Cameron alongside Tom Hawkins in a two-point practice-match win over Collingwood.
Zach Tuohy pulled out as a precaution after his back tightened up during the warm-up at GMHBA Stadium on Friday, while the Cats also lost Rhys Stanley to a minor knock before halftime.
Magpies duo Brody Mihocek (calf) and Scott Pendlebury (corked leg) failed to see out the match, but none of those injuries have cast doubts over the players' fitness for round one.
Collingwood draftee Ollie Henry put his hand up for a debut in the Pies' season opener as Cats superstar Dangerfield allayed any lingering fears over a groin injury and combined with Cameron for the first goal.
The experienced pair were rested in the second half, along with Tom Stewart, as Geelong rotated their squad heavily and held on for a 11.8 (74) to 11.6 (72) win.
Hawkins kicked two majors as he and former GWS key forward Cameron showed signs of how dangerous they can be as the focal points of an attack that already boasts a long list of avenues to goal.
"They didn't get a huge chunk of game time together but the things that they did together worked really well and there's a lot to continue to build on and work with," Cats assistant coach Corey Enright said.
"Jezza's had a great start to his journey as a Geelong player and person, and we're really excited to see what those two can do.
"(Cameron) probably could've done a little bit more and continued to play more minutes but part of his program was to play that amount of game time."
Henry was a shining light up forward for Collingwood as he attacked the contest and kicked a third-quarter goal, putting his name firmly in the selection mix for round one.
"He's been really good," Pies assistant coach Hayden Skipworth said.
"He gives a little bit of X-factor in front of the ball. He's got speed, he's got aerial (skill).
"We played him deep and high. He hasn't gone in the midfield this year, but I can see him pushing up to a wing."
Experienced recruit Shaun Higgins was busy for Geelong as youngster Francis Evans kicked two goals, and Jordan Clark worked hard.
Collingwood were pleased with Jeremy Howe's return in defence after his long lay-off with a knee injury, while ruckman Brodie Grundy was one of the best afield after a below-par 2020 campaign.
Jamie Elliott kicked three goals for the Pies.
In Friday's other scratch match, Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn starred alongside young apprentice Luke Jackson in an 11-point win over Richmond at Casey Fields.
Gawn pushed forward to kick two goals for the understrength Demons in their 14.9 (93) to 12.10 (82) victory.
The teams then played another three periods with experimental line-ups.
Tigers premiership stars Dustin Martin, David Astbury and Shane Edwards all finished the main match early as they had their workloads managed.
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