A glimpse in to the Kardinia future

It was with far more interest than usual that I ventured down to Kardinia Park this afternoon with my daughter Emily. For on display was going to be a glimpse into the future of the Geelong Cats. Injury, suspension and fatigue had necessitated seven changes to the team. Normally this would have a catastrophic effect on any team but for the Cats who are sitting pretty on top of the ladder and up against a side who have been struggling; it should be a win despite a depleted side and a cause for contemplation.

The success of AFL teams seem to be cyclical, you are destined to spend some time on the bottom of the ladder gaining draft picks and building a team for a tilt at the premiership cup. Then the slow expected move up the ladder developing strong bodies and experience that hold you in good stead. In an ideal world you become one of the power teams. This has rung true for the Hawks, Pies and Saints and more latterly the Blues are showing signs of arriving. Geelong entrenchment as a top side has had a slightly different path, early last decade they were in financially dire straits off the field and a middling side on it (North Melbourne Syndrome), they did not have the time or money to take the traditional route and had to forge ahead without the aid of the draft system, in lieu they have been very well served by the father and son rule and some astute research and drafting by Stephen Wells the recruiting officer. But having tasted success the biggest challenge that waits is to stay up in ascendancy as the current bottom dwellers begin their climb. Will the slide come as the Demons, Tigers and Suns begin their ascent to become the power teams of the AFL?

So today Emily and I saw a Cats side with a lot of new faces easily account for an under the pump Adelaide Crows. I and thousands of other in attendance were very impressed by the “newbies”.  There is more than a glimmer of hope for the future, and some tempting scenarios? Can Denzel fill the twinkling shoes of Stevie J; he has a lot of confidence and appears to be the type that won’t die wondering. The two Mitchs’ (Duncan and Brown) look likely types, good size and complete packages. Christensen and Motlop showed a lot of dash and dangerous around the ground. Taylor Hunt looks like he belongs; all good there! In the big man department Dawson Simpson had a presence on the ground, hard not to he is so big, he has that clumsy giraffe look that so many young big men have but give him time! Tomahawk continues to exasperate but every now and then just does something that shows a possible portent of good things to come, so there is still hope, after all we have given Varcoe the benefit of time. Vardy looks the goods and hopefully steps up as the aging warhorse Ottens departs for a well-earned rest.  In the wings Hogan and Cowan have showed enough to expect more from them and I have heard good things about Billie Smedts.

BUT the elephant in the room is the future of our defence. Its seems every great side has a strong defence as one of its main fortes. It is the keel upon which the dreadnought is built. This current and immediate past Geelong side has had a beauty that has held up time and time again over the past few years. It has aged from a freewheeling attacking unit in the 2007-2008 years where the Cats played in the Bobby Davis mould, skill and finesse always backing themselves in, The Cats played like millionaires in a time where the Eagles and Swans had turned the whole game into one of misers, rebounding from an attacking backline. Lately it is looking a bit more grizzled and miserly as it ages and this suits the current game of pressing and holding ground. But father time waits for no man and we will see Milburn go this year and Enright and Scarlett are in their later years. No great back men seem to be looming and this could be our Achilles heel? But just maybe all may not be lost, after all Taylor Hunt seems ok down back. Joel Corey could extend his career by a few years playing back and Harry Taylor and Tom Lonergan are playing good football and have a few years left in them. I saw Gillies take a couple of strong grabs in front of the pack today a bit reminiscent of Tom Harley.

It will be interesting?



  1. Mark Doyle says

    Tony, We Geelong supporters have had great value from our team over the past 50 years. I have followed the Cats since the early 1960’s and the 70’s was the only decade when we were a crap team, which was due to a poor administration. I believe that Mark Thompson and Brian Cook are responsible for the current good state of our club. Thompson’s legacy of instilling a great culture of team work ethic has made Chris Scott’s job a lot easier. I also believe that most of the players who learnt under Thompson’s coaching, such as Corey, Ling, Enright, Chapman, Bartel, Johnson, Mackie, Selwood and Gary Ablett jnr. (at the Gold Coast Club) will pass on the same culture and work ethic to the current young players.

  2. Tony Bull says

    Yeah agree, include Frank Costa in that, may their legacy live on.

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