Geelong star Tom Hawkins will play in the AFL grand final on Saturday night after testing negative to COVID-19.
The Coleman medallist has re-joined his teammates at their Southport hub after being forced to isolate with an illness this week.
Hawkins arrived at Southport this afternoon proved he had shaken off a sore throat by training strongly in the first hour of the Cats’ session.
All 22 players who featured in the club’s preliminary final win over Brisbane were on the track, though Sam Simpson trained away from the main group.
Geelong big man Mark Blicavs said the drama would have little impact on the star forward.
“He’s ready to go. It’s just precautionary with everything that’s happened this year,” Blicavs said.
“It’s in every club’s protocols that if someone’s got the sniffles to keep away.
“He’ll be fine. He’s the ultimate professional. He’s not based here. He’s based at the Pines with his family. It would have been just a day off for him, stay with his family and recover.”
Earlier, Hawkins was told to isolate himself away from Cats players earlier this week after feeling unwell.
He had a sore throat, believed to have been passed on by one of his children, and every precaution was taken by the club in line with AFL protocols.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan on Wednesday revealed Hawkins had been tested for the coronavirus and the result had come back “100 per cent” negative.
McLachlan admitted the initial news of Hawkins’ illness gave him a scare just a few days out from the season’s showpiece event.
“I clicked on a website and saw it was online in about half a second, I was like ’Jesus,’” McLachlan told SEN.
“(My staff) were calming me down, saying he just had a sore throat, was sure it was from the kids, and he’d been tested.”
Hawkins’ young family is staying with him at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, where a small group of Geelong players with families are based.
The majority of the Cats’ travelling party is based a few kilometres away at the hotel adjacent to their Southport Sharks training ground.
Hawkins pulled out of a previously-arranged press conference on Monday with what the club said was a family commitment.
His media commitment was rescheduled for Thursday.
“I’m not too concerned. I think it might’ve been a bit overblown,” Cats superstar Patrick Dangerfield told reporters on Tuesday.
“We all trained in separate groups (on Tuesday) but our main session is (Wednesday) night and I’m sure he’ll be out there.”
Hawkins leads the competition with 48 goals from 20 games this season and is crucial to the Cats’ chances of toppling Richmond at the Gabba.