By Luke Voogt
Star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield believes he can return from a major ankle injury for Geelong’s clash with Port Adelaide on June 10 following the bye.
The 2016 Brownlow medallist suffered a syndesmosis ankle injury requiring surgery in round 5 just after returning from a three-game suspension.
But the 31-year-old this Monday described his chances of returning from the most serious injury of his 271-game career to face the Power as “realistic”.
“I can’t wait to get out and play footy,” Dangerfield told a press conference.
“You appreciate how special it is to be involved, when you can’t get out there and play. Watching’s terrible – it’s nowhere near as good as playing.
“But I suppose … I’ve been pretty lucky throughout my career – sometimes you just cop the rough end.”
He admitted his hopes of returning before the bye were much slimmer.
“I’d love to play before the bye, but I don’t know how realistic that is,” he said.
“Everything’s going really well at the moment – barring any setbacks – [I am] trying to push the physios as much as I can.”
“I’d have to get some sort of dirt on them I reckon [to return before the bye] because I’m not sure anything else is going to work,” he laughed.
“But I think the older that you get, you become more pragmatic on what’s important rather than a bull at the gate with everything that you do.”
Dangerfield said he had learned from seeing the game from the coaches’ box and the stands.
“It reinforces the messaging behind why the coaches will work on one particular facet of the game – whether it’s ball movement, retention, whatever – it’s sometimes hard to always grasp that when you’re seeing it at ground level versus that bird’s eye view.
“I’ve spent plenty of time in the [coaches’] boxes at different stages – it’s not a great place to be,” he laughed.
“My job is more during the week in terms of how I can contribute to my team.”
Dangerfield anticipated “a balance of bench, mid and forward” for himself when he returned.
“Realistically it’s not just going to be go back and play 100 per cent midfield minutes,” he said.
“You just don’t have the same workload and conditioning behind you had you … done the same kilometres every other player has done.
“You can’t do a huge amount of aerobic conditioning – certainly not running – until you’re able to weight bear.
“And then it’s that balance of how quickly you get back to playing versus the amount of conditioning you get in.”