GEELONG will put Gary Rohan through a mini pre-season over the next couple of months in a bid to unleash the mobile forward in the second half of 2022.
The 30-year-old has been dealing with a sciatica issue in his back and hip which caused him to be pulled in and out of the main group across the summer.
The neural problems flared up at different times across the pre-season, forcing Geelong's new head of medical and conditioning services, club great Harry Taylor, and the high performance team to tailor a program to get Rohan back to a point where he can train without pain.
Rohan trained strongly at GMHBA Stadium on Wednesday and is building up to full training over the coming weeks, but the Cats don’t expect the speedster to be available for senior selection until the halfway point of the season.
MEDICAL ROOM Check out the full injury list
Geelong has chosen to take a conservative approach with Rohan and increase his training load gradually and thoroughly, rather than rush him back to games right now.
Once Rohan builds his conditioning to a point where he can play games, the club doesn’t expect it will take him long to return to Chris Scott's side.
Rohan produced the best season of his career in 2021, kicking 32 goals from 21 appearances, including 11 games of multiple goals.
The former Swan is out of contract at the end of this season after inking a one-year extension following last year's finals series.
Geelong will rest skipper Joel Selwood for Friday night's blockbuster clash against Brisbane at GMHBA Stadium, less than a week after overtaking Stephen Kernahan's longstanding record for most games as VFL/AFL captain.
Irishman Mark O'Connor will play his first game of the season after overcoming knee tendinitis that plagued the tail end of his pre-season.
The 25-year-old produced a standout performance against Collingwood's VFL side last Saturday and will return to face Brisbane, where he could be used to tag Brownlow Medal winner Lachie Neale, just like he did this time last year.
Small forward Gryan Miers is also set to return against the Lions after returning from a syndesmosis injury that required surgery at the end of January.
Miers demanded another opportunity at senior level after kicking two goals from 22 disposals at the AIA Centre on the weekend.