Something happened down at Geelong on the way to the 2011 season

by Pete Edwards


It is well documented that this year was supposed to be the beginning of the end for the Cats, with analysts pointing to an ageing list, a passé style of football, and a couple of key defections. And given the shaky form they have shown in recent weeks, it still may prove to be. But quite clearly, Geelong has surpassed all expectations, including their own. Not so clear is why.

There is no mystery in why Collingwood – with its perfect blend of age, experience, skill and game plan – is the current benchmark. They own the game plan that other coaches see as ‘the’ game plan. They own it because they developed it. And in developing it, they picked players years in advance with the game plan in mind, and provided an environment in which those players were educated and trained to execute the game plan to perfection. Now that the players are the right age and have the required experience, their ability to execute is such that the marriage of players-to-game plan is in its honeymoon.

Emulating Collingwood will not happen overnight, simply because it cannot. What took Collingwood years will also take others years.  In fact, if history repeats then before any team does, another team will have developed a counter strategy that will become the new panacea.

Case in point:  Geelong took years to become the uberteam it was from 2007-2009. Other teams, namely Melbourne and Essendon, openly admitted to using the Cat’s style of play as their blueprint for the future. Before either side could become the new Geelong, Collingwood’s game plan gazumped them leading to Matthew Knights being consigned to the coaching scrapheap, with Dean Bailey likely to follow.

And if Geelong is anything to go by, even the Magpies themselves in two or three seasons will struggle to emulate the current model. Why? They will find it more difficult to recruit players capable of playing at the level the current players do due to lower draft picks courtesy of finishing higher on the ladder for an extended number of seasons. This then will force them to hold on to older players who can execute the game plan, even if less effectively then in their halcyon days. This is the dilemma of achieving success in the socialist AFL.

So how has Geelong managed to stave off the ‘inevitable’, even if just for the first 17 rounds of this year?

Much has been said of a defensive focus brought to the Club by Chris Scott. But in Scott’s own words, “the changes have been minor”.

On reviewing the season thus far, something very definite does stand out.

Geelong has been a slow starter, having lost 50% of its first quarters this year and more often than not, has been “on the ropes” at half-time. In fact, there have been times where the distinct feeling has been one of Geelong holding on for dear life as per the expectations of so many pre-season.

Just as obvious has been Geelong’s strength in the second half of games.

Whilst the obvious observation is that Geelong just sees games out better, the question is still “Why?” After all, it was not supposed to be able to compete at such a high level.

There are so many variables that can affect where a team ends up on the ladder at season’s end – injuries, an inequitable draw, the loss (or gain) of form, the unexpected progress of a youngster or demise of an experienced player, etcetera, etcetera. And then there is just plain luck. But if I was to pick out the key elements to explain Geelong’s sustained success, they would be:

  1. Geelong is still fast. There was a perception that Geelong would slow with age. I was never concerned with this and to me, it showed that the wider football community misunderstood what makes Geelong a great side. Geelong, with a couple of notable exceptions, has not built its game plan on being fast by foot. Ball speed has been the key and to support that, their recruiting strategy has been to secure smart footballers with excellent ball-handling skills. So while Geelong at its best appears quick, it is the speed, and more importantly, the quality of their ball movement that creates the perception of speed. Fortunately, the traits required for quick and effective ball movement have not diminished with age, and have perhaps even improved with experience.
  2. Geelong is fitter and stronger, mentally and physically. And noticeably so. This has enabled them to withstand more physical pressure.
  3. Geelong has suffered least from the substitute rule. Last year, Geelong had the least number of interchanges per game and persevered with two specialist ruckmen for much of that time. It meant that the load on Geelong players was greater than on most teams and the runners played more minutes.
  4. Geelong is benefitting from the move by all clubs towards the Collingwood-inspired forward press.

    Much has been said about how fatigued players are now after games. The connection that has been made is that because there are now only 3 on the bench, the number of minutes played per player is greater hence the increased fatigue. Breaking the numbers down however makes this unlikely as players, on average, are required to play an extra minute a quarter.

    Rather, it is the way players play that causes the fatigue.  The forward press is mostly about what to do when your team does not have the ball. It is about covering space and covering it quickly. To prevent a team from getting the ball “out the back”, players must get to contests. This requires players to be more explosive in their movements. It is now as much about power as it is about endurance.

    Having been unlucky enough to be subjected to the dreaded “100 100s” one footy pre-season, I can tell you that running 10km has never been so hard. Explosion after explosion breaks your muscles down. Joints stiffen. Lactic acid surges through your body. Oxygen depletion kicks in. Thinking is difficult, let alone thinking straight. And then there’s the recovery – more sore for longer.

In my opinion, these four factors have come together and provided an environment within which Geelong is thriving.

Geelong, with its recognised lack of foot speed, gets exposed by quality opponents early in quarters and games because it cannot keep up, but its superior ball use keeps it in the game.

As games go on, fatigue sets in sooner than in previous seasons because of the exertions required to maintain the press, and so any pace advantage an opponent may have had over Geelong is effectively lost. Superior fitness and strength allows the Cats press to come in to effect, and allows them to continue to use the ball with high efficiency. With pace no longer an issue, the result is determined by who can make the most of their opportunities. Invariably, the experience, strength, poise and ball skills of the Cats gets them across the line.

So how did Essendon beat Geelong? The general consensus was that Essendon starved Geelong of the ball and that Matthew Scarlett was tagged. These certainly contributed. But I think Matthew Scarlett being tagged was only effective because Geelong did not get the ball.

The Bombers won the clearances and that was a key factor, but I think the biggest factor was that the Bombers did not employ a full press. They did not use up their energy, and therefore pace, on charging up and down the field covering space. It appears that they allowed the game to be played in Geelong’s half, hence Geelong winning the inside 50 count 59-42, and they focused on winning possession at half-back, retaining possession and then using their pace advantage only when they could get “out the back”. Geelong had no counter. Essendon did not fatigue as other teams had to date and so Geelong could not play its trump card. It also helped that Essendon executed their skills that night better than I have seen them do for many years. That Geelong got within 4 points when they had so little of the ball was testimony to how effectively they used the football.

The Cats can be beaten, but unless a team is 6 or 7 goals up at half time, or conserves their energy and uses their pace advantage to better effect than committing to a full press, or is Collingwood, then Geelong will most likely win.

Whether Geelong can beat Collingwood remains to be seen. Collingwood has trained specifically for the conditions presented on today’s football field whereas the Cats, through a quirk of evolution, just happen to be an accidental beneficiary.


  1. It is a good critique Pete but I will indulge myself by making one comment.

    The Pies played in two straight grand finals in the early noughties and then tanked a few years later to get good draft picks.

    Old habits die hard so they may well do that again, or they have the option of taking the Cat’s approach and getting two priority draft picks for players poached by new teams.

    It is hard to argue with hard core Pies these days but I would much rather two flags than one flag and a wooden spoon.

    Their run is still only one straight. A lot can happen between now and October and there is of course the rift fallout factor that Eddie is bravely trying to keep a lid on. Boys will be boys as we all know.


  2. Pete – interesting analysis. One thing that has worried me about the Cats all year (despite the lethargic starts which you theorized about) is that we have often let the opposition kick multiple goals against us in quick concession. This implies a break down in our defensive structures. Whether it be a mental thing of a personnel thing I don’t know. Its not a good habit to be in as September arrives.

    But one thing we can be sure of, if any team beats the Cats they will have to play well to do it.

  3. Nick Lovell says

    Nice piece Pete- really enjoyed it.
    Another factor worth considering is that Geelong haven’t suffered as much as some thought from the loss of G.Ablett Jr. I don’t think many other teams could have coped losing their (and the leagues) best player- as we have seen with St Kilda losing Lenny Hayes. I think teams possibly respond differently to losing a player to another club than they do to injury. It has a different feel to it, and they are proud to cover to loss in some ways. Either way, it is interesting to consider how Geelong may have fared if they’d not lost Ablett……

  4. Tony Bull says

    Well done Pete, interesting Brian Cook says he wants to break the cyclical nature of the AFL and keep cats on top until 2020. It would be hard but with Cook and Stephen Wells they have the right people.
    The clubs I feel for are the roos, they are stuck in that mid range where they are struggling off field and can’t afford a lengthy stint on bottom, it could kill them as a club. I can remember Cook saying in early years at cats, we can’t afford to take the usual route down to come up with our financial status, we need to start right now. So they recruited on character and not talent. Clubs like Geelong and Pies do well as they recruit the best player for the team and not necessarily the most talented. I am thinking of Blair at Collingwood and Taylor at Catland. Both have blended in well in top teams after being low draft picks because they were the right type and filled a void.

  5. The Roos excursions into Hobart may have suffered a blow today with ABC News noting that the Tassy Statewide league is about to crumble for the second time due to lack of interest from the paying public.

    With the Tassy Government broke and closing down schools they will not be able to prop the venture up without being lynched.

  6. Skip of Skipton says

    Very astute analysis there Pete and I concur strongly with all four points you make. Wishful thinking was responsible for most predicting Geelong to slide I’d say. I’m a Geelong supporter and know how good they are and could not entertain the idea of them slipping. If anything the departure of Ablett and Thompson has revitalised the place.

  7. Thanks guys. I think the durability of the boys cannot be underestimated either. It is remarkable for them to have been “up” for so long given the way footy is played nowadays.

    I’m hoping the heavy 6-week training program the club is currently undertaking has the boys cherry ripe for the finals.

  8. Mark Doyle says

    Pete Edwards, It is not a surprise that Geelong have maintained their top four status in 2011. Most of the ignorant media buffoons who predicted that Geelong would struggle in 2011 do not have a good understanding of AFL football. These predictions were erroneously based on a poor Geelong performance in the 2010 preliminary final against Collingwood. Collingwood were much better in this game because their players were fitter and in better form. Geelong continue to have an excellent player list and some very promising young players.

    I believe that Collingwood’s game plan is based on the way Geelong have played in the past few years and their much vaunted forward press is a myth. The Collingwood strategy is a simple plan of getting at least two or three players to every contest and apply pressure to force a turnover or skill error and then quickly move the ball forward on the counter attack with good endurance runners and good skills. Both Geelong and Collingwood are the best teams because they have better players. The influence of Collingwood’s assistant coach Mark Neeld should not be underestimated. He has worked as a special commentator for K-Rock for a couple of years and you can be sure that he has provided reports to Mick Malthouse concerning the strengths and weaknesses of Geelong. With respect to Geelong 2011, Chris Scott has not changed Geelong’s game plan and the way the Geelong players have continued to play their footy should be attributed to Mark Thompson’s coaching. Chris Scott’s main focus has been the management of player fitness and workloads.

    Tony Bull, you should not feel sorry for garbage clubs such as North Melbourne, who are poorly managed. If clubs such as North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, Richmond and Port Adelaide continue to struggle in generating revenue of at least $45-50 million per year, they will not be competitive against the likes of Geelong and Collingwood. I believe that the only way for the weaker clubs to generate the required levels of revenue is to develop a number of ‘leagues clubs’ with 5,000 plus poker machines in suburbs such as Melton, St. Albans, Werribee, Hoppers Crossing, Greenvale, Craigieburn, Bulleen, Templestowe, Ringwood, Lilydale, Knox, Frankston, NarreWarren and Cranbourne.

  9. Richard Naco says

    Good discussion, gentlemen.

    The long term viability of Geelong can’t really be compared to Collingwood for one basic reason. That being that Collingwood has always been one of the Big 4 (or this year, the Big 1) in terms of attracting memberships and money. Carlton, Essendon & Richmond are the other traditionally massive clubs, with Hawthorn now genuinely in the same league. By dint of its geography, Geelong is now and will ever be a ‘medium’ sized club at best, and its structure and current fiscal stability is product of excellent management and internal vision and discipline.

    Geelong’s comparative isolation is both its handicap and – for me at least – a massive part of its allure. I’ve always enjoyed the idiosyncratic and the outsider, and Geelong certainly breaks the mold of contemporary AFL clubs.

    I do feel sorry for those welded on supporters of clubs like Port & North, as they are usually powerless (no pun intended) to prevent their favoured club sliding in to the abyss. And it would be unimaginably horrible to endure the ceaselessly pessimistic contemplations of their club’s situation. But as Geelong was not too long ago in that same invidious position, I also have nothing but contempt for managers in those clubs that keep turning, cap in hand, to the AFL seeking extraordinary dollops of lucre in order to sustain their operations. There has to come a time when the AFL simply says “no”, and then focuses on clubs with certainty, structure & a reasonable degree of fiscal responsibility.

    KPMG were basically right back in 2002 (I think). A club like Geelong should never be able to retain a place in a money sapping industry that is the AFL. That it is operating so successfully in all aspects of its endeavours is due to fantastic vision, discipline and management at all levels, and for me, gives me far greater pride as a Catter than the winning of mere premierships. Geelong’s continuing existence – growth even – is a hyperbole defying triumph.

  10. Tony Bull says

    Mark, I do not feel ant empathy for Port or Tigers or similiar as they have made mistakes. But on the other hand you could say the saints (and to a lesser extent hawks) have become a strong side by being the worst run club in the AFL. As a result of their fiscal incompetence they ended up with the a great playing list via the draft and their lowly position.Robert Wall wrote an article a few years back comparing cats and saints. St Kilda had had 23 higher draft picks than the cats over a period of time ( I think it was 7 years). Including multiple #1’s and priority picks. Geelong in 14 years had 2 single digit picks. But it is very hard for a financially struggling mid placed club to go anywhere, with Suns GWS and free trade looming it will only get harder.

  11. johnharms says

    Peter, Wonderful analysis. Really interesting reading.

    I think yuo are right about the quality and pace of the ball movement at Geelong, and of decision-making. To play on instantly is to create danger which can bring you unstuck if you don’t use the ball well, but is so difficult to defend when the ball is used well.

    One factor in the Cats favour this year is their finals experience, and the fact that the PIes have not had much time under genuine scoreboard pressure.

    How do you explain last year’s prelim final?

  12. @Richard Naco, Mark Doyle, Tony Bull.

    Agreed that there are more reasons than the ones I highlighted, most of which are qualitative or intangible and therefore immeasurable. There is also a great degree of subjectivity in what I write. Whilst having a strong football department is obviously important, I’m not sure that fiscal policy or management has as big an impact on playing performance as suggested. Geelong have been consistently competitive on the field pre- and post-2000 (when they were GONE!!). They were in the lower reaches of the ladder from 1998 – 2003 because they were simply not good enough on the field.


    Thanks john. I think in the prelim last year, we were just out thought and out played. CHB was our muster point which requires precise skills. The Magpies focused their press at CHB . For some reason the Cats skills were down that night (the pressure no doubt played a part), but we also inexplicably consistently had the wrong “go to” players there. The Magpies seemed to lead our higher skilled players out of that zone and we were often left with the more suspect ones in there who consistently turned the ball over.

    I think the Cats could have adjusted by moving their “muster point” higher up the ground but it was too late by midway through the second quarter.

  13. Mark Doyle says

    Richard Naco, I agree with your contribution and especially the sentiments of your final paragraph. I disagree that Richmond are one of the big four Melbourne clubs. The only thing big about Richmond is that they have the biggest number of feral supporters.

    Notwithstanding our regional location, I believe that Geelong can be categorised as one of the big AFL clubs that can be confident of generatiing gross revenue of $45-50 million dollars per year. My future confidence is enhanced by the recent committment of Brian Cook as CEO for the next three years. The Brian Cook/Frank Costa/Colin Carter administration have done an excellent job in garanteeing the future of the Geelong Football Club. Their most significant contribution has been the development of Skilled Stadium as a good income producing venue, which generates revenue of between $600,000 and $700,000 for each of 7 home games with approximate crowds of 25,000. The club also has good long term partnerships with the local council and sponsors such as Ford, The Advertiser newspaper and the radio station K-Rock. It is also appropiate that Geelong plays it’s ‘home’ games against Collingwood, Essendon and Carlton at the MCG in Melbourne where good income is received with 70,000 plus crowds. From a football perspective the most significant contribution in the past decade has been the coaching of Mark Thompson, who has been the best Geelong coach in 50 years and the equal with Reg Hickey as our best ever coach. I also believe that Mark Thompson is one of the best teaching AFL coaches in the past 50 years. Hopefully, Mark Thompson will be rewarded with life membership of Geelong Football Club sometime in the not too distant future. Stephen Wells has also done an excellent job in managing the recruiting process.

    We Geelong supporters are very fortunate with facilities at Skilled Stadium. As a Social club member, we have a reserved seat, access to a dining room for pre-game lunch, a comfortable lounge to enjoy a beer or devonshire tea at half time and a likelihood of Geelong winning, which all makes for a very enjoyable day.

  14. When they were developing the Eastern stand and looking for names, I thought there was only one name it could be given – “The Costa/Cook Stand”.

    If the refinancing of Geelong’s debt in 2000 was not a watershed moment for the Cats, then the announcement in 2003 of a A$28 million redevelopment of the ground was. It secured Geelong’s future.

    There have been many great servants of the Geelong Football Club, all of whom are deserving of the honour, but few would have been in a position where the very existence of the club as we know it was dependent on what that contribution was.

    It would be an injustice if something was not named to honour Costa & Cook.

  15. John Butler says

    Great analysis Pete, and an interesting follow-up discussion.

    I’d differ on one point. I don’t think Collingwood were building specifically towards their current game style over a period of years. Player development, recruiting and so on had been worked on over time, but they didn’t even begin last season with the exact game style they finished with.

    Malthouse has admitted himself ‘others’ (Buckley?) approached him and pushed for change. They began the year with the old reliables still largely in the team. The round 3 loss to St Kilda would seem a catalyst. From that point youngsters replaced the old guard and the game plan was tweaked.

    One of the off-shoots of increased investment in football departments (if it’s done right) is that teams can adapt their tactics more quickly. Clarkson’s cluster really only gave the Hawks a window of advantage of 1 year. By 2009 St Kilda had adapted it into something else.

    I think we’ll see the smart clubs change quite quickly from here on. Depending, of course, on playing personnel.

  16. Rick Kane says

    Can I add another key element Pete for Geelong’s standing this year? It’s called luck. In the first round (in one of the worst games this year) Geelong won with 20 seconds remaining. In Round 8, a poor umpiring decision cost Pendulbury the chance to win the game for the Pies. In Round 9 concussed Carlton ruck, Warnock missed a simple shot at goal with 90 seconds on the clock. In Round 12 against Hawthorn there were two disputed decisions in the dying minute and the Cats hung on by 5 points. And in Round 2 Freo wasted its chances against the Cats.

    Please don’t misunderstand me, Geelong is playing terrific footy. But are they setting the football world on fire the way they did the previous 4 years? I don’t think so. Can the luck continue to run? In the second half of the season (with losses to WC and Essendon) I would suggest not. But we won’t truly find that out until Finals time, when they’ll have to beat three sides in three weeks convincingly, including teams they barely scrapped past (or didn’t, in the case of WC) during the season.

    In the Prelim against the Pies last year they got found out. Big time. That was the sign footy pundits (including myself) took to suggest we had seen the best of Geelong and why we believed they would falter this year. Yes, we got it wrong, but I don’t think by that much. And luck has had a bearing on the Cats getting it right, for now.

  17. Andrew Else says

    The ball movement is due to the fact that so many good players have played together for so long. They are confident in each other and have total faith that each player will go to the right spots.

    Their second halves are a combination of fitness (again, many players having played many games) and the fact that their opponents are wary of them because they are Geelong. This is why they continue to roll Hawthorn and why they nearly ran over the Bombers after being outplayed all night (which happens).

    Amazing you can compare ’10 Geelong with ’11 Geelong and not mention the name Ablett.

    The press is only effective in dead balls forward of centre and kick ins (ever noticed how The Pies will have a set shot from anywhere?). It means nothing if you’re not winning centre clearances. Take out Jolly, Thomas, Swan, Pendlebury and you haven’t got a flag. (Put Goldsack, Sidebottom and Blair in there from the start and see how good they are…)

  18. Rick,

    my dear old recently deceased uncle would always say “good teams win the close ones”.


    in the preliminary final the year before we belted the Pies. and they won the flag next year.

    We have beaten Collingwood, Footscray, Carlton etc once and St Kilda and the mighty Hawks twice.

    By the way can you tell me about those disputed decisions when we last played the Hawks. Go ahead – make my day.

    You make your own luck. Remember 2008.

    Cheers, “Freddo”.

  19. Thanks Pete etal – best analysis of modern footy I have read anywhere. I have spent all year trying to work out how and why the Eagles have risen from the dead this year. Your thoughts helped me clarify my own theories about WCE.
    1) We play the Collingwood system/press better than anyone except the Pies. Ash Hansen (son of Clark) now does work for ABC radio in Perth and plays for my WAFL club Swan Districts. He has no axe to grind and claims WCE have been trying to play this system for a couple of years but lacked cattle, fitness and understanding (breaks down if everyone not on board). Inclined to think Scott Burns has played a big hand – he would be my pick for Crows if they care about winning more than appeasing fans. Goes against JB’s view that Pies adopted early last year, but I am inclined to think these things are a long time in gestation before fully realised.
    2) Very physical to play. Bash, crash, tackle, run to fill space. Except Saints, Pies and Dons we have won all our starts convincingly. We are getting worn out by game style and length of season. Had Saints and Pies on toast with 15 minutes to go last 2 weeks. Lost one, fell in on Sunday. Players too tired to run and tackle that late in a game. Cumulative effect from the season and the game style – not the day.
    3) Collingwood’s fitness regime is as crucial in their ‘edge’ as players or game style. Arizona; Lexus Centre is their longer lasting edge. As JB said everything else is quickly analysed and either copied or countered. I don’t think their players are notably better than the competition, but their preparation is.
    4) Natanui is critical to WCE. His round ground marking has improved remarkably. But his run, body strength, tackling is remarkable. After the taps he is the biggest, fastest, strongest tackling and bash-crasher ever. I think his shoulder is stuffed and he is playing on pain killers. He was nearly best to half time, and couldn’t get near it after that when I fear the ‘juice’ had worn off. Worrying signs but it has been a great ride.
    5) Our good remaining draw will nearly get us to top 4 – but will there be anything left against ‘top sides’ (my suspicion is that Pies are only top side and everyone else has real vulnerabilities). Are we better off 4th and playing Pies at MCG with a double chance? Probably better off 5th with home final so long as Dockers aren’t 8th. That would be very cut-throat. Would strongly fancy us at home against anyone else.
    6) Andrew’s point about press struggling if you don’t win clearances is very valid. We got won hitouts 53/18 over Sandlilandless Dockers – they got one more clearance than us. Priddis and Kerr our only ‘inside players’. Kerr injured. Teams have worked out tags for Priddis and Embley. Shuey quick and clever, but on outside. We just don’t have that endless list of fast, strong midfielders that Pies possess. We have 3 or 4, where they have 8 or 10. Weight of numbers.

    West Port Phillip Coast Pussycats would be more than a match for Pies. Add Kennedy, LeCras, Natanui , Cox and Glass to fix your structural weaknesses and we can go Premiers together. Ling and Priddis for Ranga southpaw mongrel at the clearances. Brian Cook has had a foot in both camps – couldn’t he arrange a temporary merger in the interests of Pica protesters everywhere? Bryan and Ben Cousins as Joint Presidents. Polly as Patron and Ruck Coach. Unbeatable. Blue and Gold Hoops – magic.

  20. Dave Nadel says

    Very good article followed by very good discussion. Tony Bull is right that Collingwood and Geeelong draft the best player for their needs rather than the best player in the draft. I hate to stick the boots into Carlton (not really) but the Blues are the best example of the other method. They used their three consecutive first picks to pick up the best players in the draft and got a ruckman and two midfielders. They also used the draft advantage to pick up the best midfielder in the comp. As a result they have a midfield that is at least as good and possibly better than the Pies and the Cats…and no-one tall to kick the ball too, not to mention only about one quality tall backman to defend when the midfield doesn’t have the ball.

  21. John Butler says

    Dave, when we got the number 1 picks we needed pretty much everything. The year that a clear key position option was available was when we took Kreuzer ahead of Hurley. That’s a tough choice by any measure.

    I don’t think it’s entirely either/or. Sometimes the player type you want isn’t clearly available in a particular draft.

    There’s no doubt Collingwood and Geelong have set the standard for recruiting and player development in recent years. But luck helps also. For Geelong, fatther/sons. For Collingwood, St Kilda letting Luke Ball go.

  22. JB – its funny how the lucky teams seem to stay lucky longer than others.

  23. John Butler says

    Claiming club control over the fertility of ex-players are we Dips?

  24. Rick Kane says

    Hi Phantom

    Sorry I missed you at the N Fitzroy Arms last week. It would have been good to have a beer and hand over the Freedos. As to your mischievous question about my turn of phrase, “disputed decisions”, the key word is disputed.

    I agree that you make your own luck. From Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, “My success is talent put together with hard work and luck.” the notion of luck being entwined with talent and hard work is evident. However, luck is not a one-sided coin. Tao Te Ching says, “Beneath good fortune disaster crouches.” I think Cats fans should be beaming, but a little circumspection doesn’t hurt.


  25. Alovesupreme says

    Thank you for that survey of the luck-preparation-opprtunity nexus. I associated it with Colin Hayes (horse racing), but also note Gary Player, “the harder I practise, the luckier I get”. There’s a web discussion of the use of the expression by golfers, and show business personalities, and Player apparently acknowledged that his use was derivative from a golfer named Jerry Barber.

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