by Lee Carney
Defamation Lawyers are a greedy ruthless breed so lets just lay out purely the facts.
Geelong were a middling bottom half of the eight team for the best part of the early to mid aughts.
Due to the fact they were a middling team they received no super high draft picks, other than the father-son Ablett who probably would have gone one in a pure draft. Also to be fair they did get Selwood (much to my anger one pick after Hawthorn went with Mitch Thorpe when they already had Buddy and Roughead, but that is a whole other column)
The Geelong team was known as one that could be bullied and routinely failed against the bigger hard-bodied sides like Sydney and Brisbane.
Geelong had a coach who was just games away from being run out of town.
If you do a Google search for Geelong Ladder Position the first auto-complete that comes up is 2006, indicating I am far from the first person to search for that this week. They finished 10th, winning 1 of their last 4 games, so this was no team entering 2007 on a high after a strong finish.
Dean Robinson was signed as Strength and Conditioning coach in 2007.
After week 5 of that season Geelong went on an unprecedented run, losing only one game before winning the Grand Final by 119 points.
After this Grand Final win Dean Robinson singled out Stephen Dank as worthy of praise for his role in the Geelong win, through the information they shared with one another about strategies for improving player performance.
Geelong, with Robinson still as Strength and Conditioning coach went on a run that could have given 4 flags in 5 years if not for the upset on Grand Final day by Hawthorn in 2008.
During this time commentators constantly referred to the ‘Strong Geelong bodies’ and how ‘tough Geelong players are to tackle’. Teams that played Geelong often saw their own coaches in post-mortems after the game complain that his team needed to get stronger and bigger, ‘more mature’.
Geelong had an amazing run with injury during this time, losing basically no key players for extended periods of time. In fact when you go back and look through the injury reports a remarkable number of players are listed as test-picked in side indicating better than expected recovery from soft-tissue injuries. The majority of major loss of time injuries for Geelong in this time were Collision type injuries and knees, this may be the same for all sides, I didn’t check, but it is certainly true of Geelong.
From 2007 and 2009 Geelong became the only team in history to win 18+ games in 3 consecutive seasons, all with no major trades or signings and no high draft picks. Other than Ablett and Selwood this was practically the same team that finished 10th in 2006.
When Mark Thompson went to Essendon he took Robinson with him, Robinson then brought Dank to town.
Pick up the papers to see how that has worked out.
So I have just one question, if I changed the team name above in all of those above facts to the team you hated most of all, say a Collingwood, what would your reaction be. Or let’s say an Olympic Athlete had Geelongs 2003-2006 level of success then suddenly had their 2007-2010 success and they were say Chinese or East German, what would your reaction be?