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Cockatoo set to fly into 2015

Geelong recruit Nakia Cockatoo is transitioning well into life as an AFL footballer and appears a chance to make an early impact in 2015. Having missed almost the entirety of 2014 due to a stress fracture in his foot, the powerfully-built midfielder says he’s adjusting well to the rigors of his first AFL pre-season.

‘Nakia has certainly shown in the first part of the pre-season that [Round 1] is a possibility” – Chris Scott

“The body is holding up well. The first week was tough trying to step into training and the gym but it’s coming along nicely now,” Cockatoo told at last week’s AFL Players’ Induction Camp.

“It’s really good and I’m enjoying it a lot. An AFL pre-season is obviously different to any other pre-season I’ve ever done but my body’s adapting well. It’s a lot harder, but it’s rewarding at the same time.”

Geelong coach Chris Scott said last month the 18-year-old from Darwin may be a possible inclusion in Round 1.

“The four draftees that we’ve brought in have all played some form of senior footy and we’re optimistic that they could have an impact straight away,” Scott said.

“There are 40 guys on our list who could play Round 1 and Nakia has certainly shown in the first part of the pre-season that it’s a possibility for him.”

After missing last year’s Under 18’s championships through injury, Cockatoo put in a best-on-ground performance in the AFL Grand Final curtain raiser – his only game for the season. But that one game was enough for the Cats to select him with pick 10 in last year’s National Draft. Now that he’s settling into life at Geelong, following the leads of some of the most successful players of the last decade is the first step in what Cockatoo hopes will be a long AFL journey.

“James Kelly is a super hard trainer and Tom Hawkins as well; he puts in a lot of hard efforts,” Cockatoo said.

“You might not see him run as much as other full forwards but he loves those short contests and short leads. He puts in as much hard work as anyone else at the club. So I’m really trying to learn as much as I can watching these guys up close. I’ve still got a long road ahead.”

Watch as Cockatoo and other draftees share their first impressions of life in the AFL