Nakia Cockatoo has made another strong claim to make his Senior Lions debut, as he stood tall in the Sunday’s 38-point VFL loss to the GWS Giants.
The former Top 10 draft pick who joined the Lions in the off-season after a horror run with injury at Geelong is now on the brink of adding to the 35 games he played at the Cats.
Having returned from injury just weeks ago, Cockatoo strung together a solid performance at the Metricon Council Training Oval to finish with two goals and 13 touches.
Cockatoo played a key role in the Lions’ fourth quarter surge that saw them put up five goals to the Giants’ four and narrow the final margin to just 38-points.
VFL Head Coach, Mitch Hahn commended his consistent effort throughout the game, with Cockatoo performing well alongside several other AFL listed players.
“Nakia Cocktaoo continued with his progression and had a pretty strong four quarter performance,” Hahn said.
The young side struggled to find the four-quarter effort they were chasing as the Giants dominated play from the first siren.
Outnumbered in the contest against a fast and free-flowing Giants side, the Lions found themselves without opportunities to get on the board in the first term.
Tom Joyce stepped up and opened the Lions’ account early in the second quarter with a clean goal, with the Giants responding to the challenge with one of their own minutes later.
The Lions wouldn’t regain momentum until late in the second quarter, with Mathieson and Cockatoo contributing a goal apiece.
Their momentum flowed into the second half, with the Lions starting to find their feet and restrict the Giants to just 11 points in the third.
A late push in the final quarter saw the Lions rack up a massive five goals, narrowing the Giants’ victory to just 27-points.
Speaking on the loss, Hahn said that they’ll continue to push the young side for consistency across all four quarters through the remainder of the season.
“We were disappointed with our first half today, I thought that the Giants came out with a good energy and played a way better brand than us today,” Hahn said.
“We challenged the guys around our strength around the ball at half time, and they responded really well and kept them to five goals and eight apiece which was really pleasing to see.”
“Unfortunately, we have to be up and about for four quarters, we can’t have the performance in the second and not in the first, so the guys will get a lot of learning from that.”
“I think the process for us now is looking at how we can connect better as a team, and if that starts to happen then individuals will start to play better within that.”