Almanac Finals Preview – Geelong’s Snapcats

 

Leading into the first week of Finals, here is a short preview of Geelong’s list.

 

Defenders

 

Lonergan plays on Franklin well; the one most likely to buy at an op shop, a man after my own heart.

Taylor leads the 2nd best defence this year; knows every capital city in the world.

Enright is a critical part of the cohesion; a sixth All-Australian.

Mackie used to be a beautiful kick, but now he gives the ball to the opposition too often.

Kolodjashnij can play on both talls and smalls; is yet to kick a goal.

Ruggles reads it well, takes a strong mark, gets to the contest and uses it well.

 

Mids

Smith breaks even at ball-ups and stoppages and wins clearances and second efforts.

J Selwood three times All Australian captain; likes playing with Danger.

Dangerfield got an ovation when he kicked a goal for the Crows in the final minute last year.

S Selwood didn’t want locker 15; won the B&F at West Coast; will tag Mitchell in the finals.

Duncan has been a bit inconsistent; earlier this year was rated the most efficient ball-user in the AFL.

Menegola had a great start; needs to take the best option, which might mean kicking it himself..

 

Forwards

Hawkins has had a 50+ goal season, including 6 last week; looms as a match winner.

Menzel would complete his fairytale by winning the flag.

Motlop led the Cats tackle count in a recent game; has potential to be a game-breaker.

Bartel reinvented himself across half forward or as a Mr Fixit; could be a finals wildcard.

McCarthy is solid and if teams are judged on their bottom six, then he looks ok.

Stanley was nearly picked by Wells in the 2008 draft – he went at pick 47 and Taylor Hunt went at 49. He is a good combo with Zac Smith. Goes forward well though his goal-kicking is 50-50.

 

Bench

Guthrie has been better the last couple of weeks; is capable of great things, a la Andrew Gaff.

Cowan is a hard nut who goes into the fierce battle and emerges with the ball.

Caddy is reminiscent of a previous JC at Geelong, not flashy but dependable.

Blicavs didn’t win an Olympic medal but a premiership one would make up for it.

 

Emergencies

Henderson has good hands and takes intercept marks across half back; could be our CHF.

Cockatoo shows glimpses of flair and skill.

Bews can play on smalls and mid-sized forwards as well; is disposing at 80%.

Kersten needs to hold more marks and convert more shots, though he chases, tackles, and pressures.

 

#11 Darcy Lang is a young hard nut type of player who plays as a small forward but would like to move into the midfield. (Is there a player anywhere who doesn’t aspire to playing in the midfield? Just asking…) Darcy has played pretty well this season but is a victim of fitness and form, ie. too many fit players trying to squeeze into the firsts and those with the best form get selected. (Except for Steve Motlop but I’ll come to that). Likely emergency v the Hawks.

 

#33 George Horlin-Smith is one of those players the crowd  tend to give a hard time to. He’s played 40 games so has had a fair opportunity to cement his spot but it’s never happened. Flashes of quality interspersed with clangers and turnovers. Seems a little one-paced too which with the speed of modern footy is a drawback. George regularly dominates at VFL level but can’t quite bridge the gap to deliver at AFL level. Unlikely to play finals for reasons I’ve already stated, I won’t be surprised if GHS is playing in a different jumper in 2017.

 

#21 Jordan Murdoch has become almost the forgotten man. A speedy winger/half-forward who played every game in 2014 but has been inconsistent and out of form this year in the few games he’s played. An outside player who can be a real line-breaker and good long shot on goal on the run but has been passed by several others this year and barring injuries is only likely to appear on Grand Final day in the half time sprint which he won in 2014. At a game last season my son Zac commented to me “Murdoch’s not in our best 22 any more”. I swear the very next thing that happened was Jordan spinning around two players, breaking clear of the pack and kicking a scorching goal from outside 50! I just looked at Zac and laughed!

 

#30 Nathan Vardy. Another forgotten man. When Geelong was desperate for a ruckman Vardy was seen as the potential answer but kept getting injured and although he showed occasional glimpses never really grasped his chances when they came. Now with Smith and Stanley fit and firing he is stuck in the twos. I suspect he will seek a move or be traded at the end of the season, Geelong never stand in the way of players wanting to leave and are just about the best club in the league to deal with when it comes to trades. And of course, they are not averse to moving on the odd aging champion so don’t be surprised if Jimmy and Boris are not there next season! Consider how many clubs have former Cats on their list: Christensen, West, Kelly, Stokes, Johnson, Mumford, Hunt, Simpkin, Varcoe, Ablett, Hamling, Walker…

 

#28 Corey Gregson has played 29 games and looked like establishing himself in the team but better form from other players has seen him relegated to the fringes in the second half of the season. Corey’s a little bloke and an accomplished gymnast who reminds me of Caleb Daniel at the Dogs. Plays as a crumbing small forward and has kicked 17 goals. Unlikely to play in the finals.

 

#19 Mitch Clark. This is a mystery. Mitch has had a well-publicised battle with mental illness, along with injury since joining Geelong in 2014. Finally he was fit enough after a month of good form in the twos and was selected to play against Sydney. He’s a big, fast strong marking forward and could be the perfect partner for Hawk around goal but was dropped after just the one game. He didn’t have a great game against the Swans but he wasn’t alone there in a game we got flogged in, so why was he dropped and why hasn’t he played again since? The club won’t admit it but there must be something else going on and it probably has something to do with a conflict with team mate Mitch Duncan whose sister goes out with a player that Clark sledged in a VFL game. I don’t know what was said but it seems to have been pretty bad and caused a blow-up with Duncan. The club dismissed it but the mystery remains…

A fit in-form Clark could be a real weapon in the finals but hard to see him getting back in the team now and a few whispers suggest he’ll be moved on at the end of the season.

Comments

  1. Richard Jones says:

    GOTTA have Henderson in, Marcus. Provided he passes fitness tests, of course.
    Great in back half; handy in front half.
    Caddy v. tough in and under mid. Need him and also Guthrie — much improved and quite ‘smart’.
    Not too sure about ‘Scooter’ Selwood.
    Can’t kick all that well. But if he keeps Mitchell reasonably quiet, I’ll take him.
    Will be at G with family and (unfortunately) 2 or 3 dedicated Squawks fans!!
    Very pleased with Stanley. Forgotten he’d won a G half-time sprint on grannie day.
    Also very happy with Menegola.
    And Stanley’s a follower/ruckman for Gawd’s sake.
    Please, puhleese don’t play Bews. Not a shadow of his old man, The Rat!!

  2. Jen Costello says:

    Corey Gregson was ruled out for the season some weeks back with a foot injury. Glad to see him signed for next year.

    Thanks for your article Marcus. I remain hopeful for a Cats GF berth!

    Go The Mighty Cats tonight ……..

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