Cats lose Cameron for Darwin AFL clash with Suns

Roger Vaughan and Shayne Hope |

Record-breaking veteran Tom Hawkins will sit out the Cats’ clash with Gold Coast in Darwin.
Record-breaking veteran Tom Hawkins will sit out the Cats’ clash with Gold Coast in Darwin.

AFL medical personnel have ticked off Geelong’s in-game management of Jeremy Cameron after the star forward was diagnosed with delayed concussion.

Cameron’s head hit the ground in a marking contest during the final quarter of Friday night’s narrow home loss to Port Adelaide.

He played out the match but was placed in concussion protocols after further assessment on Saturday, and will miss Thursday night’s clash with Gold Coast in Darwin.

Cameron’s absence against the Suns could force the Cats to rethink plans to rest fellow key forward Tom Hawkins, who is on the verge of breaking the club record for most games played.

Geelong on Saturday said Cameron had shown no immediate concussion symptoms.

The 31-year-old also passed a normal concussion assessment, known as a SCAT6, after the match.

“As is the process following a match, Cameron was monitored and assessed again on Saturday morning, where he reported some concussive symptoms on repeat SCAT6 and a diagnosis of delayed concussion was made,” the Cats said in a statement.

An AFL spokesperson on Saturday said the league had no issue with Geelong’s management of Cameron, having reviewed the series of events and spoken with club medical staff.

“(AFL medical personnel) are comfortable that he was managed consistent with the AFL Concussion Guidelines,” the spokesperson said.

Hawkins ended his four-match goal drought in the 15.11 (101) to 14.11 (95) loss to Port as he drew level with long-time teammate Joel Selwood on 355 games for Geelong.

But the 35-year-old was limited to just seven disposals by Power defender and former teammate Esava Ratugolea in another quiet display that is likely to intensify the spotlight on his form.

Cats coach Chris Scott held back from launching a full-scale defence of Hawkins after the match but stuck up for the three-time premiership forward.

“Where I want to respond a little bit is, ‘Are you saying Tom Hawkins has had a few quiet weeks out of 355 games so there’s a huge problem when we’re 7-1?’,” Scott said.

Hawkins' form
There’s been an increasing spotlight on Hawkins’ form for Geelong. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS)

“I guess the only kind of negative emotion that I feel is a bit of confusion.

“It’s a bit like the Tom Stewart thing. If you want to be the best player in the comp, the expectations around your performance are going to be higher than everyone else.

“So you take the good with the bad.”

Hawkins, who has kicked 791 goals over a career spanning 18 seasons, continues to attract some of the competition’s best defenders.

“He’s topical. He’s been such a good player and he’s still such an important player for us,” Scott said.

“It’s not the only test but if you survey our opponents and ask, ‘Do you want him to play or not?’, I’m assuming they would say not. That’s still the way I look at it.

“He had some really nice moments as the game went on as well, but we didn’t get the ball forward much early on.”

Scott said Geelong planned for Hawkins to be rested in round 10, skipping a Gold Coast clash that comes on a six-day break and includes travel.

It would have cleared the way for Hawkins to break Selwood’s record on home turf against Greater Western Sydney the following week.

But the Cameron news means Hawkins could now be required to play against the Suns to ensure the Cats have enough height in attack.

AAP