Work takes its toll as Cats hit track

ALLEN Christensen is the latest Geelong player to suffer an injury scare, limping off the ground at Mount Beauty yesterday with a sore ankle.

The talented 21-year-old suffered the injury in a ball drill towards the end of Geelong’s gruelling two hour-plus training session but limped off without help before receiving treatment away from prying eyes.

Cats assistant coach, Chiltern legend Nigel Lappin, who was yet to be fully briefed on the incident, said the premiership player would be monitored.

“I’ll have to catch up with Allen on the bus on the way back (to Falls Creek),” Lappin said straight after training.

“Hopefully he’ll be all right.

“He’s a pretty tough kid.”

Livewire Christensen could join half forward Daniel Menzel on the sidelines, with Menzel missing the nine-day training camp to Falls Creek and Mount Beauty for one-to-seven-year players with a knee injury.

Menzel, 21, who has had both knees reconstructed, suffered a minor setback with his left knee at training in Geelong earlier this month.

“Dan had a minor mishap at training and we just wanted to make sure that the best treatment was available for him back in Geelong, so he’s stayed back there,” Lappin said.

“He was just doing a little bit of twisting work, but it was nothing major at all, so he’ll be fine.

“He iced it up straight away and they sent him away to get it all checked out.”

About 30 players trained at Mount Beauty yesterday, including recruits Hamish McIntosh, Jared Rivers and Josh Caddy, as well as captain Joel Selwood and best-and-fairest winner Tom Hawkins.

Those missing included Jimmy Bartel, James Kelly, Tom Lonergan, Steve Johnson and Paul Chapman.

Most participated in running and ball drills — players coming back from injury wore pink hats meaning they couldn’t be tackled.

Billie Smedts, 20, and Lincoln McCarthy, 19, trained away from the main group.

Smedts, who received plenty of treatment from trainers, ran laps and participated in individual ball work, while McCarthy was confined to ball work and boxing.

“Billie has had hip issues ever since he got to Geelong,” Lappin said.

“He had them fixed up at the end of the season before last and had a terrific season for us until he broke his finger.

“Unfortunately his hip has been playing up for the last couple of weeks.

“He’s got a little bit of a slight glute strain, so he’s been pulled out of training for a couple of weeks.

“Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious and we’ll settle it down and he’ll be back out there.”

The Cats are hoping Smedts will be fit to return to full training after Christmas.

Lappin said McCarthy was recovering from a foot complaint.

“Linc’s had a bit of a stress reaction in his foot that he had carried for the last part of last year,” he said.

“His progress has been a little bit slow. Slower than we’d hoped it would be. He’s going to be a really exciting young player in our forward line in the future and we are just taking as much time as we can (with him).

“We’ve had a few of those types of stressy sort of foot reactions with some of our boys which have gone pear shaped so we want to make sure he recovers really well.”

Lappin said Varcoe’s fitness had the group buzzing with excitement.

Varcoe was told to train in shoes rather than footy boots yesterday to protect his feet.

“Trav’s only joined training the last week but he has done a hell of a lot of work back at the footy club,” he said.

“He’s a really exciting player, Travis.

“We missed him last year.

“He could have made a massive impact for us in the finals if we had him.

“Fingers crossed that his body stays sound because he’s had a few foot issues over his time.”

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