I’m an unabashed Pat Rafter fan. A two time US Open winner, he was unlucky a couple of times at Wimbledon, and has been the only serve-volleyer since McEnroe to look a threat at the French Open.
A work colleague at the time was not so glowing however. “The worst player to ever win a major,” was his opinion of the Aussie champ.
Which is sort of how I feel about the Cats at the moment.
Of the five sides competing for the top four, it’s acknowledged by all and sundry that Geelong is the weakest. And yet post this weekend’s results, the Cats find themselves second with not just the top four, but the top two now a real prospect.
If they can get over the enigmatic North in two weeks time, they then play the Dockers and if they win that, they will finish above them come year’s end. Beat Carlton the following week, and the Hawks after that, and they will finish top two.
To me, that defies logic.
This is not the Geelong side of 2011, let alone the 2007 or 2009 versions. Half the side are players of less than 50 games experience. And half of the other half are past their best. They are very much a side in transition, and expectations post 2011 were that it would be 2015 or 2016 before the Cats were a serious flag contender again.
And yet, here they are, second on the ladder.
This suggests one of two things. Either this is a very weak season, and the Cats position is evidence of that, or pundits are correct in their assessment of Sydney, Hawthorn, Fremantle and to a lesser extent, Port Adelaide, as being of high quality and the Cats are a very ordinary ‘second on the ladder’ side!
As a Cats fan, the exciting thing is that the Cats are undefeated in Victoria. If they can finish second on the ladder, they may not have to play interstate again this year, and then anything can happen.
The dampener is that Hawthorn is the only one of the tops sides that the Cats have played locally, and so their ability to beat the other top sides is still an unknown. It’s probable though that they would start an outsider against Sydney, and probably be evens against the Dockers and the Power.
The Saints thrashing the Dockers, the Giants almost beating Geelong, and Melbourne less than 2 minutes from beating Port in Adelaide proves that footy is a funny game.
But seeing Geelong second on the ladder with a real chance of finishing second come finals is something that this Cats fan finds amazing.