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Cats big man set for NAB Challenge return

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Hamish McIntosh and Dawson Simpson training on Thursday

GEELONG ruckman Hamish McIntosh will be fit to play in the Cats' NAB Challenge campaign as he works his way back from a string of ankle, knee and Achilles problems.
 
McIntosh joined in select drills at Cats training at Simonds Stadium on Thursday morning, working on his sideways movement and even participating in some rucking drills.
 
Cats coach Chris Scott said the unlucky big man would "definitely play" when the pre-season games begin in February.
 
"I hesitate to say it, but he's going very well," Scott told reporters before training on Thursday.
 
"He's doing all the training that we're asking of him and he's making a difference to the way we're training on the track.
 
"I should speak cautiously when it comes to Hamish because he's missed a hell of a lot of footy. Until he gets some consistency, week after week, and can back up from hard games, then it would be folly for us to get too excited.
 
"He'll definitely play pre-season games … but it wouldn't surprise at all for Hamish to play the first game available to him."
 
Fellow big man Dawson Simpson is well on the way in his return from a serious knee injury sustained in the lead up to last year's finals series.
 
"He's in really good shape with his knee. He's back training now, which is positive," Scott said of Simpson.
 
Allen Christensen and second-year utility Jackson Thurlow had minor hip surgery over the break, but both are up and running. Shane Kersten is on track to return for the NAB Challenge games following a knee injury sustained in last year's VFL Grand Final.
 
Cats speedster Steven Motlop has been limited so far this pre-season with patella tendonitis, although Scott is confident that he would be right to go once the matches start.
 
Veteran Cat Corey Enright is showing no signs of the knee injury that ruled him out of last year's preliminary final against Hawthorn and will be fit to take his place at the start of the Cats' NAB Challenge campaign.
 
Daniel Menzel is continuing his steady progress in his rehabilitation from a fourth knee reconstruction, although Scott confirmed he would not be considered for selection until around the mid-point of the season proper.
 
Young forward Lincoln McCarthy is tracking "really well" in his comeback from a long-term foot injury, while first-round draft pick Darcy Lang is running and training with the group after breaking his leg in last year's NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
 
Meanwhile, Billie Smedts will not be sanctioned for his pre-Christmas indiscretion and will instead go through a range of education sessions.
 
The Cats kick off their NAB Challenge campaign on February 12 against Collingwood at Simonds Stadium.
 
Twitter: @AFL_BenGuthrie