Success breeds success

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Ah, It’s a new footy year!

An odd year too; that’s bound to bring a smile to the dial of any Geelong supporter of recent years. 07, 09, 11…13?

The Cats did an about-face on their long-held policy of not recruiting recycled players, and were major players in trade week for the first time in a long, long time, bringing in three new players from other AFL clubs, two of whom are over 28 years of age. They may have changed tact and looked north towards Sydney’s success with recycled players of recent keeping them firmly entrenched as a major player.

I actually kind of enjoyed our early exit last season. Well, don’t get me wrong; I didn’t really enjoy the losing-to-Freo-in-an-MCG-final aspect of it. But once we were out, I was able to relax and enjoy the finals series neutrally for the first time in many years. I was abroad in 2010 (thankfully), so 2012 was the first time I had not been at the ‘G cheering on the Cats on the last Saturday in September, and hence the first chance I had to relax and actually attend a Grand Final BBQ since 2006. (Hawthorn getting done in the last minutes certainly further piqued my enjoyment of the day and made it the next best thing to a win for the Cats anyway).

It’s the mixture of young and old that has me most excited about 2013. I was at Etihad Stadium on VFL Grand Final day last year when a young Geelong ran all over VFL powerhouse Port Melbourne. There were more than a few shades of 2002 let me tell you, and not just because a fast finishing young Geelong side overhauled Port Melbourne in the second half. And the fact that Garry Ayres was coaching our opponent this time round made this one almost sweeter than that brilliant day at Princess Park in 02.  There were a bunch of kids playing in a side that seemed to have found the perfect mix, and more importantly, possessed players with the same unrelenting desire to win as that team containing Ablett, Bartel, Johnson, Kelly et al did a decade ago.

Success breeds success, don’t they say?

The AFL Cats have not lagged in introducing new faces anyway during and since their 2011 triumph. Duncan, Christiansen, Menzel, Vardy, Guthrie, Motlop and Hunt are almost best 22 already. Add to these the high-profile Gold Coast recruit Josh Caddy, as well as the silky smooth George ‘Hyphen’ Horlan-Smith, the speed machine Jordan ‘Rupert’ Murdoch, the wily Jesse ‘James’ Stringer, the rapidly developing Billy ‘The Kid’ Smedts, the burly Josh Walker, the Chapman-esque Jordon Schroder, and the smooth Mitch Brown, and all of a sudden there is a veritable gaggle of quality kids banging hard on the door for senior selection. Which will no doubt keep the ageing champs on their toes.

The two recruitment decisions which raised most eyebrows were of course the procurement of Jarred Rivers from Melbourne and Hamish McIntosh from North. Both are quality players, no question, but is their best behind them? In Wells I trust. Geelong were pummelled from pillar to post in the ruck last year, a game in Perth against Cox and NicNat still appears regularly in my nightmares. If McIntosh can pull his body together and stand up in the ruck in 2013, Geelong will be back amongst the Top 4, make no bones about it. Rivers is less of a gamble, and in pre season games looks to have slotted into the defence like he’s been back there for a decade, no doubt enjoying the freedom of playing with the likes of Taylor, Enright, Lonergan, Mackie etc after a decade of utter torture in the dismal Dees’ defence.

We know what to expect from the oldies; but its more than a little exciting to have a fit Travis Varcoe (a veteran at 24) back up and running, and mark my words, a fully fit Jimmy Bartel is primed to have his best season since his Brownlow year. And Tommy Hawkins (another veteran at 24), with his breakout year finally behind him, could really become anything.

We’ve been spoilt; I know, I know, 3 flags in 5 years. But I’m starting to get a bit bullish about the Cats again in 2013.

Success breeds success, don’t it?

Bring on the footy!

About Tim McBain

A long tortured but now proud Geelong man. Product of the 70's. Likes late nights, country music, Test Cricket, red wine, Woody Allen films, airports and mushroom risotto. Lives in Melbourne.


  1. We can win this

  2. Skip of Skipton says

    We will win this! Adelaide were close to full strength yesterday. We had our no.5 and no.6 ruckmen out there, and a host of first 22 absent. Geelong’s reserves could be an AFL side in their own right.

    The term is ‘changed tack’ not ‘tact’, I believe.

  3. Tim McBain says

    thanks Skip. I agree, and I thought i wrote ‘tack’, I’ll blame it on auto correct!

  4. Skip of Skipton says

    No sweat. Good article cobber. Rivers is a school mate of Mackie and will fit into the back six nicely. Rising Star winner. Good fotballer.

  5. Tim – our young blokes need to take big strides this year. But don’t get excited, the Blues have already got the 2013 Premiership. We may as well give them the Cup now – Mick said so.

  6. PeterSchumacher says

    Mick would know!

  7. Cookie, LOL. I wonder how long your committment to this will last…

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