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Cats confident Bartel OK but will sweat on Cockatoo report

Cats recruits 'starting to jell' Geelong assistant coach Simon Lloyd says familiarity is improving between the new recruits
Nakia Cockatoo is likely to find himself in hot water for his sling tackle on Michael Johnson - ${keywords}
Nakia Cockatoo is likely to find himself in hot water for his sling tackle on Michael Johnson

GEELONG star Jimmy Bartel will be fine for round one after being cleared of concussion, but youngster Nakia Cockatoo will face a nervous wait after he was reported in the Cats' final NAB Challenge match against Fremantle.

Bartel copped a knock to the head in the first quarter of the Cats' 12-point loss to the Dockers at Domain Stadium.

He was taken from the ground and assessed for concussion. Geelong's director of coaching Simon Lloyd said the veteran passed the initial test but did not return as a precaution.

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"Jimmy is fine," Lloyd said post-match.

"He passed the concussion test at the time.

"He's up walking around and chatting to players and having a joke. He'll be fine."  

Lloyd said it was not ideal for Cockatoo to get reported after a sling tackle on Michael Johnson, and the club would await the Match Review Panel's verdict.

"It is disappointing," Lloyd said.

"But we'll let the system take care of itself and it's something that we can't control." 

Lloyd was pleased with the Cats' performance despite giving up an 11-point lead late in the last quarter to lose by 12.

He confirmed that skipper Joel Selwood and forward Daniel Menzel would play for Geelong's VFL side in a practice match on Friday night before round one, while veteran Corey Enright would be ready for Hawthorn on Easter Monday after being rested against Fremantle.

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Nakia Cockatoo has been reported following this tackle on Michael Johnson #NABChallenge

Posted by AFL on Friday, 11 March 2016

The Cats played five 198cm-plus players against Fremantle and appeared to stretch the Dockers' defence at times. Lloyd said the coaching group liked what they saw and they feel they have some options heading into round one.  

"I think at different times it's going to be dependent on the teams you're coming up against.”

"At different times we'll look at that and we have got obviously (Tom) Hawkins, (Nathan) Vardy, Rhys Stanley, Zac Smith, so we have got some talls down there that are quite mobile as well.

"We're trying different combinations as we go and trying to figure out what combinations work best.

"That includes the smalls. Corey Gregson did really well on the wing today and he's played forward in the past. So we're just trying to expose players to different roles.

"We've actually got a fair bit of depth at the moment and they're really challenging each other for positions in the team."  

Michael Johnson is helped from the field after being tackled by Nakia Cockatoo. Picture: AFL Media