Geelong’s preliminary final could be Tom Lonergan’s last AFL match but the veteran defender insists he’s not thinking about his playing future.
Lonergan, 32, is one of three big name flag-winners to come out of contract at season’s end along with Corey Enright and Jimmy Bartel.
As a 2016 All-Australian, Enright – who turned 35 on Wednesday – is clearly playing well enough to continue on.
While the form of 32-year-old Bartel has been less solid, he’s understood to have triggered a new one-year deal that was available to him.
As the less celebrated of the three, Lonergan has drifted under the radar as a potential 2016 retiree but that suits him fine.
The defender says he’s all-in on the finals series and can’t spare a moment to ponder what the future holds.
“I haven’t even thought about it,” he said.
“It’s not even worth talking about until we get past the next couple of weeks.
“The body’s been good and I’ve been enjoying my footy. It’s great when you do get the wins.
“I’ll sit down with the club at the end of that period and discuss where we go from there.”
Lonergan said criticism of “fantastic” Bartel had totally past him by, saying the group wanted the bearded Brownlow Medallist playing next weekend.
“He is a great player and he’s stepped up on the big occasions so many times. We love playing with him and we’ll leave it with the coaches to make that (selection) call,” he said.
“He’s cool and calm under pressure … I hope he’s there in prelim week.”
Lonergan said the club was preparing for Lachie Henderson to play in their preliminary final after he showed his recovery from minor knee surgery by training on Tuesday.
Geelong’s two-point win over Hawthorn in last Friday’s qualifying final has given the Cats a two-week break, and they’re treating it like one.
Five days after the win, Lonergan said the Cats were yet to train with any intensity, focusing instead on recovery.
“We had a really good preparation leading into the Hawks game and we’ll look to have a really good hit-out over Thursday and Saturday,” he said.
And there are no plans for a get-together to watch Saturday night’s semi-final between Sydney and Adelaide to discover their opponents as a group.
“We spend too much time together already,” Lonergan laughed.
“We’ll just watch it ourselves. Some guys mightn’t even watch it. We’ll see enough vision next week of our opponents.”