Hamish McIntosh at work during Geelong's pre-season camp
GEELONG recruit Hamish McIntosh is confident that he will be fully fit by the start of the Cats' assault on the pre-season competition.
The 28-year-old, who moved across from North Melbourne during the trade period, had LARS surgery to replace the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee back in August.
His knee is still mending, which is why he has been on a restricted program during Geelong's camp at Falls Creek.
But he is expecting to step up his training load after the Christmas break and be ready for the Cats' pool matches against West Coast and Fremantle at Patersons Stadium on February 16.
"I imagine I'll be playing in the NAB Cup," McIntosh told AFL.com.au
"I've been training with the main group but just doing the non-contact work.
"So I've been doing all the skills and getting a lot of work in, but I just haven't been able to do the full-contact game scenario sort of stuff.
"After Christmas, as long as it keeps going well and keeps improving as it has, I'd imagine that on the first day back I'll be into full contact, completely out of rehab.
"I'm looking forward to getting back into it and playing the real stuff. That's what you miss most, especially with the injuries I've had in the two years before this.
"At a new club, the best way to prove yourself is out on the training track."
Hamish McIntosh during Geelong's pre-season camp at Falls Creek. Picture: AFL Media
McIntosh is happy with the way the LARS surgery has turned out.
"It was pretty unique sort of surgery that I had," he said.
"The improvement was pretty steady there for a while, but I've seen some great gains in the last three or four weeks.
"To be pretty much in full training now, before Christmas, is way ahead of schedule compared to what I thought it would be.
"It's great confidence for me knowing I could be playing NAB Cup, whereas maybe at the start of pre-season I thought I might be pushing my luck.
"So I'd imagine that if I get through the full training in January I'll be right to go in the NAB Cup.
"Hopefully I get through those games and I can look forward to the Easter Monday game against the Hawks."
McIntosh and fellow recruit Jared Rivers were not compelled to take part in the camp at Falls Creek, as it involved the club's younger players.
But they both made the trip to the high country.
"Hamish hasn't done a lot of the pre-season to date, so he was very keen to get up here to Falls and make sure that he made an impression on the younger players, which we admire," Lappin said.
Adam McNicol covers Geelong news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter at @AFL_AdamMcNicol