by Sasha Lennon
Now that Geelong is the undisputed competition leader after accounting for flash-in-the pan Collingwood last Friday night, Cats fans can stop badgering the rest of us about the emerging brilliance of Travis Varcoe and refocus their attention on the cup that beckons.
With the departure of ‘Bomber’ Thompson and Gary Ablett at the end of last season, the critics (this one included) were happy to write the Cats off from having any chance of September glory in the foreseeable future.
Ablett was Geelong’s Messiah, the son of ‘GOD’, only (in my view) better, more balanced, more predictable (in a good way) and more diverse than his freakishly talented father Gary Ablett senior.
After Ablett headed north to the Gold Coast and ‘Bomber’ went back to the Bombers, the future looked uncertain at Kardinia Park. How would a team of ageing warriors with an untried coach battle the evil forces of Collinwood? Could it compete with a resurgent Hawthorn? Would the Saints finally prevail? (No).
Footy never fails to throw up surprises. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. On Friday at the ‘G’, a characteristically determined Geelong prevailed in an enthralling battle with the reigning Premiers. With new coach Chris Scott at the helm and a blend of youthful talent and experience, the Cats look to be re-born.
Geelong fans should have had faith. Reading the blogs, watching the footy chat shows and listening to the talk back over the past couple of weeks, it became clear that at Geelong, a collective and almost unconscious search for the new Messiah had begun in earnest.
They were only quiet pre-season murmurs at first. Then, from a whisper in to a scream, Cat-talk moved from ‘one of the greatest teams of all time’ to the sublime talent of one Travis Varcoe.
Having the honour of wearing Geelong’s famous number five coupled with the view that he’s one of the game’s emerging stars, it was never going to be easy for the 23 year-old.
Despite my loyalty to Hawthorn, I’m a fan of footy in general and like any footy fan I like to watch great footy players. I reckon Varcoe will be one of them, though he’s not there yet.
In the meantime, I just like to watch him grow.
I also like how the expectation doesn’t seem to affect him. And under Chris Scott, Varcoe looks to have grown in confidence, making him a more potent force to be reckoned with, in his own quiet way.
No, Travis Varcoe is not the Messiah. He’s just a very good footballer.
Sasha Lennon is a Brisbane-based Knacker whose writing can be found at http://sashasoapbox.blogspot.com/