Father Time

Paul Chapman was and always will be great. Three premierships, one Norm Smith, one Carji Greeves, two all-Australian teams, countless crunch-time goals and a booty of hard-man qualities. Not bad for a 31st draft pick. Indeed, to watch Chappy rise this year above premature forecasts of his demise is a credit to the man, his tightly cropped beard and his will to succeed. We want and need Chappy around for a couple more years.

But, after reading Mark Robinson’s interview with him in Saturday’s Herald Sun, one can’t help but feel he’s feeling the pressure and resultant cracks are appearing. Put simply, Chappy wants a two-year contract, whilst the club is offering one. With quotes like “It’s the first time in my career I’ve been questioned…” and “I believe more in myself than what they believe in me …in terms of my body”, his dirty laundry is being aired.

It’s not like Geelong. This is information the club (players and officials) typically keeps to its chest. The public nature of the Ablett and Thompson affairs were the antithesis of the club’s famous integrity. And who could forget the way Buddha, Bairstow and Ablett Snr et al were shown the door? So, could Chappy’s fate be the beginning of a protracted and ugly finish to the season? The unfortunate reality is that we are victims of our own success: legends of the club who are entering into Father Time. Their future the subject of debate. How much further value they can add to the club: one or two years – or none? Chapman is the first, and no doubt others will follow. Some will go relatively quietly (think Ling, Ottens, Milburn and Mooney), and others won’t.

Combine these sensitive and difficult conversations with a potentially disastrous run into the finals, and things could get complicated. Forget not that Joel Selwood is a 24 year-old, first-year captain, and the pressure on him will be immense. Ultimately this could prove to be the club’s biggest challenge: to defend a premiership, handle an ageing champion list with dignity whilst setting up the foundations for another era as glorious as the last. We for one hope the club can uphold its reputation for managing business, people and success hand in glove. Surely Chris Scott and Brian Cook – with their exposure to similar circumstances at Brisbane and West Coast – will be invaluable. But the very players who are entering the final years of their careers will also need to act as they have played the game: with dignity, courage, skill and respect.

Comments

  1. Every great era ends, so it’s how you manage the transition. For the Cats as well as Chapman the following players are nearing the end: Corey, Enright, Podsiadly, Scarlett, Wojinski you can’t imagine any of them being present come the 2014 seson. Jimmy Barel, maybe a bit longer , ditto Josh Hunt. To help rebuild/maintain the club, whch players can be used for trades? These are the Q’s Geelong face .

    Glen!

  2. Neil Belford says:

    Well Hamish, to me Chappy has looked gone since round one against Freo – and he has some mates. I think he should have a good hard look at the tea leaves because they are trying to tell him something – get out while you are still respected. If he plays next year he runs every chance of getting dropped – that would not be pretty.

    Geelong has been doing a bit of myth making of late – fair enough they have earned the right – but there is no way out from here. I was thinking that Chappy and his cohort would manage to get themselves back to greatness for one last finals campaign – but my tip now is that he wont actually get a chance to do that because on my use of the ladder predictor they are going to finish about tenth.

  3. Too true Neil, the finals might be a Bridge Too Far, in light of their drawer, and the form displayed in 2012.

    Glen!

  4. maybe that’s the reality check we need – to help ensure the transition happens more quickly.

    but i’d love one more crack at it to send the boys off in style…

  5. Good game by Chapman last night. There’s lfe in the old Cat yet.

    Glen!

Leave a Comment

*