Danger Geelong

by Lee Carney

Well that didn’t take long. When earlier this year the AFL announced that teams would be allowed to trade draft picks from future years anyone who has spent any time following US sport knew that we were going to see some teams mortgage their futures for present success and wreck themselves for a decade. Teams with coaches on the hot seat were the prime candidates to go down this road, but you would have thought that teams with a record of recent success would be immune from this disease….. how wrong we were, for proof just look at Geelong.

As we enter 2016 Geelong will likely be in a lot of pre-season Top 4’s thanks to their acquisitions, however it would be wise to look below the surface of what exactly Geelong have just done, and then to look not just 12 months down the line but look at what they may have done to make the role of Chris Scott’s successor be a role to avoid like the plague.

People are looking at Geelong’s additions and see a premiership contender but they are not looking properly, but before we even get to the additions let’s assess the losses. For all the talk of him being past it, Stevie Johnson still was one of the first dozen players written on the Geelong team sheet last year and the same goes for Kelly. Stokes does not fit that description but he was integral in the premiership years. Rivers and McIntosh are also names that people remember from the good Geelong years, they are not in the team that the additions are coming too. As worrying as this may be, they are not the losses that should really worry the Cats, the losses will be discussed shortly.

So to the additions, Geelong is not adding Paddy, Selwood and Henderson to the 2011 Geelong team, they are not even adding these players to the 2015 Geelong team, which it must be remembered, missed the eight, they are adding these players to the 2016 Geelong team. They are not putting Paddy Dangerfield in a midfield alongside the Brownlow Medal winning Jimmy Bartel, they are putting him alongside a guy who is one year older than the player who is averaging 5 disposals a game below his peak and can no longer run out whole games in the midfield. Dangerfield moves alongside a captain who has taken more hits, particularly to the head region than most of his contemporaries and whose game has some duplication with that of Danger anyway.

Speaking of Selwoods, Selwood comes into the team with more hype than his recent record would seem to justify, its true he was injured much of last year, and yes he was the VC at West Coast but he was either fit or approaching full fitness come Finals Time and their was no clamouring in the West to find a way to put him in the team, there were no stories in the West Australian saying how an 80% Selwood would be a positive for the Grand Final team, can you think of any other key leaders from other contenders that there would be so much silence about if somewhat fit coming into a Grand Final.

Finally Lachie Henderson, a fine footballer playing in a bad team, exactly the sort of player a good team tops up with when they think they are a piece or two away. The question for Geelong is are they in that position, with what they have given up to get these players they better hope so otherwise they have just condemned themselves to a decade of pain

To bring in these players, Geelong have lost three spots in their team that could have been used to get games into the next generation of Geelong players, that is the easiest thing to forget but the most important thing to remember, those three players will cost 66 games of development for the current young Geelong players, but that is minor compared to the real costs. The first cost is Salary Cap space, Geelong now have a lot of money tied up in players they have bought in from outside for the next five years, and good luck getting the players you have developed to take discounts if you are throwing money at Free Agents. Then there is the draft picks, Geelong in a spasm of short-sighted planning have given up all their picks before pick 67 this year, so let’s just say they will not get a single 200 game player from this years draft. Whereas in 2001 they got four Premiership Champions in the draft, then they have also given up 1st and 2nd round picks next year, so good luck getting a star next year either. Geelong potentially have just traded 1000 games of football from drafted players for 240-350 games from Selwood, Danger and Henderson. For this to work Geelong need to be sure there are no key injuries next year and hope like hell Selwood works out. Danger is a safe bet to be a good player for them, but if he is a gun player in a mediocre side the question will have to be, was it worth it?

 

Addendum:

 

This is the list ofnet gains and losses for Geelong from the Trade Period

 

What Geelong Have Given Up

 

2015 Rd 1 Selection (likely Pick 9)

2015 Rd 2 Selection (likely Pick 28)

2016 Rd 1 Selection (if all goes well pick 14 – 18, if not well pick 6 – 12)

2016 Rd 2 Selection (if all goes well pick 32 – 36, if not well pick 24 – 30) Steve Johnson Dean Gore (2014 3rd Rd Pick, no games) Jarrad Jansen (2013 2nd Rd Pick, no games) Josh Walker (2nd Rd pick 2010, 33 games)

2015 Rd 3 Selections * 2 (Likely Picks 49 & 53) Lots and Lots of $ off their Salary Cap

 

What Geelong Have Received

 

Patrick Dangerfield

Lachie Henderson

Scott Selwood (Free Agent)

Zac Smith

2016 Rd 3 Selection (from Brisbane, so could be a pick in the low 40’s)

2016 Rd 5 Selection (from GWS so likely a pick around the 90 – 100 mark)

 

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Comments

  1. James Grapsas says:

    Very good analysis. I’m an ardent Geelong supporter and recognise that the Cats were middle of the road in 2015. Dangerfield is a gun and his output alone will probably result in the Cats making the finals in 2016. However, as fine a player as Dangerfield is, I doubt whether he and the other acquisitions will elevate Geelong to a flag, or to at least top four material, in the next few seasons. The net effect of the personnel changes should be a 6th or 7th place finish in 2016.

    I’m concerned about the hype about Selwood Junior and Henderson. These two recruits should help a bit with depth but I suspect their combined effect on Geelong’s 2016 chances will be mild. My preference was for the club to be content with securing Dangerfield and, once that was done, to conserve draft picks and cash to build up the list with quality draftees in the near future. I don’t think getting three more recycled players is the answer.

    I really hope that Geelong exceeds my expectations next year. Go Cats!

  2. Dave Brown says:

    Sound analysis – worthwhile remembering that Dangerfield did not move to Geelong to have a better chance of a premiership. They should expect make finals next year given nicer draw etc but are accepting a fair amount of risk to get there.

  3. Some very valid points in this. However, I suspect that there is often too much gravitas attached to draft selections. Lets not forget that a trade pick is only a step or two ahead of going to the horse sales and buying a untested foal. The great Leigh Matthews said recently (and I think I agree with him) that he would always choose a tried and proven 25 year old ahead of a first round draft pick because you know what you’re getting. This view is probably contrary to many.

    The most compelling point in this piece is the games given up (1,000) for possible games received in the draft (240 – 350). Its a great argument, but Geelong is assuming that the 240 – 350 will be a superior quality to the 1,000. Time will tell.

    Geelong’s trading is risky. It could backfire badly if injuries hit. And if it does backfire it will severely damage future options. But ultimately any trading is risky.

  4. Lee Carney says:

    Addendum

    This is the net gains and losses for Geelong from the Trade Period

    What Geelong Have Given Up

    2015 Rd 1 Selection (likely Pick 9)
    2015 Rd 2 Selection (likely Pick 28)
    2016 Rd 1 Selection (if all goes well pick 14 – 18, if not well pick 6 – 12)
    2016 Rd 2 Selection (if all goes well pick 32 – 36, if not well pick 24 – 30)
    Steve Johnson
    Dean Gore (2014 3rd Rd Pick, no games)
    Jarrad Jansen (2013 2nd Rd Pick, no games)
    Josh Walker (2nd Rd pick 2010, 33 games)
    2015 Rd 3 Selections * 2 (Likely Picks 49 & 53)
    Lots and Lots of $ off their Salary Cap

    What Geelong Have Received

    Patrick Dangerfield
    Lachie Henderson
    Scott Selwood (Free Agent)
    Zac Smith
    2016 Rd 3 Selection (from Brisbane, so could be a pick in the low 40’s)
    2016 Rd 5 Selection (from GWS so likely a pick around the 90 – 100 mark)

  5. Don’t think Wells is assuming these three draftees will do the job. I think they’ve recruited mid-career players hoping/assuming Vardy, Stanley, Cowan, Menzel and Duncan will all play 2016/17. If they do, with the aforementioned additions, then there’s a case to say that does lift the Cats into contention.

  6. Lee Carney says:

    Reply to ajc

    your last paragraph is what Geelong is betting on and it may work out that way. I’m guessing that Menzels performance in his comeback game got rid of a number of the doubts they may have had about this strategy

  7. Excellent analysis, Lee.
    But as with everything, the proof will be in the pudding.

    I particularly agree with your discussion re future trading. Boy, hasn’t that changed the landscape? And you are correct: any prospective coach will surely have to take into consideration the number and depth of future draft picks that he does not have at his disposal.

  8. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Interesting Lee now if any club was given the chance to pick up 1 of the best 5 players in the competition for what they have given up every club would have jumped at it. The desperate need for Henderson comes from not picking,Lever or Durdin last year when the cats picked,Cockatoo and with Rivers retiring and Lonergan close to the end likewise the need for,
    Smith comes from choosing,McIntosh and Clark and Dawson and Vardy Inj problems so I actually think there selections now are the result of the past.S Selwood is a huge risk but he was a free agent.

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