Almanac Footy: Cats got our tongue

“Cats fans have been quiet,” said the Footy Almanac newsletter email immediately following last year’s finals series.

“What more can we say?” I thought. Groundcat Day, Pivotonian Phil and all that. I’ve whined and whinged about it in several Footy Almanac pieces.

To briefly paraphrase: those posts laud Chris Scott as a clear thinker and great people manager, but question his coaching, lament our predictable handball game and our poor end of year performances (long before the media picked up on it)

If insanity is repeating the same behaviour and expecting a different outcome then that applies to the team – and to me.

Perhaps the players don’t bang it down quickly to a contest because they lack confidence in their teammates’ ability to win it. But, if it’s about the cattle then trying to finesse to victory is fraught as well.

As a new season dawns, is it safe to speak?

The return of the Son of God will provide interest, and might have us talking in tongues, but he alone won’t be our saviour. Not unless the game plan changes and some pennies drop. I’m happy to see him back, but the club has been inconsistent in its attitude to veterans and karma may overcome providence.

The JLT preseason was nothing to shout about if the stats are anything to go by – more handballs than kicks against Gold Coast, and not much better against the Bombers. I didn’t see either game, but the match report of the Suns hit-out claimed they pressured us into handballing. That may have been the case, but my guess is that we began by overusing the ball, which resulted in turnovers, they gained confidence and it went on from there. Like last year’s prelim – the predictability of repeating the previous week’s ploy of a Paddy full forward might have worked better had we got the ball down to him quickly enough in the opening moments when opportunity arose.

While hoping to be proved wrong, my feeling is that we’ll probably end up reproducing successful mediocrity. There are some good things about that, however – hope is maintained long into the season, we get to see what gems Wells collected from late in the draft because we’ve never failed enough to provide him with first digs.

Perhaps the only thing that’ll bring about real change is finishing in the cellar. Careful what you wish for. Best I bite my tongue.

But if the Cats do frustrate too much with sideways complacency, I’ll turn on the neutral supporter’s perspective – gain enjoyment from what other teams are expressing.

How will the Tigers defend their title?

Can the Dogs bounce back?

Will the Pies continue their own run of mediocrity? I see parallels between them and us.

How will the Crows handle grand final failure?

What about Sydney? Their best is good enough too, but can they maintain the hunger?

Can GWS rise to their potential, or are they overrated?

Are the Saints a dark horse? Or will the Bombers fly?

These and many other unanswered questions will keep me talking.

About Paul Spinks

I have had writing published and performed in various mediums, though not always with the luxury of a deadline. Below are links to some pieces published beyond this great site.


  1. Peter Flynn says

    Coach self preservation to be a continuing theme for 2018.

  2. georgesmith says

    Gee whiz, you’ve got Danger mouse, Gary Comma Junior, Mr Selwood and a premiership coach. The side drips talent. Now is not the time to go for the draft. the Magpies on the other hand are where we were 20 years ago, time for a clean out…

    Check out Hawthorn, and those close but no cigar Geelong teams from the past, then build on what you have now. Everyone fantasizes about being the next Richmond, but the Moggies have the ability to make it happen.

  3. Paul Spinks says

    Peter: with short-termism all the go, like a pollie seeking re-election?

    Geroge: Nah, don’t want us to go draft seeking. My comments are more in regard to 7 years of teasing with our best being good enough, but not being at our best when it matters, a complacency tendency, playing by rote etc. If there’s a hunger deficit, is it the role of coaching staff to instill it? Today was a case in point – first half of conviction and urgency; second half the opposite of that and we find ourselves having to save the game and being lucky to do so. But there was also a lot to like – first gamers, Gaz.
    And of course. I’m being a bit churlish – flags are damn hard to win.
    Yes, the Pies are in a more perilous state – as, I would suggest, is Buckley if there’s no significant improvement.

  4. Paul Spinks says

    There was also a lot to like about Sel’s 250th, I should add. Suffer in your jocks, Dermie and clones :)

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