Where to, Geelong? Other thoughts?


Apologies for the absence from footy commentary this season. I need more hours in the day. I’ve seen the boys live three times and once sitting with Dips in the North Fitzroy Arms. Other than that it’s been off the TV at home.


Would love to have been Up North at Metricon for the Gold Coast-Geelong game where the conditions were Good For Football. Weird from the Suns. A big concern really. Solid from the Cats. A surprisingly simple exercise.


Very hard to work out where the Cats are at – and where quite a few teams are at. It seems Geelong are plugging gaps and their greatest plug is Tom Stewart – remarkable. Tim Kelly was back on Saturday, after a couple of quiet ones. Ruck?


Thoughts on where the Cats are at are welcome. Even from West Coast supporters.


Thoughts on Wiley Buzza welcome.


Thoughts on the best 22 welcome.


Thoughts on the teams to beat welcome.


About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au. He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Peter Flynn says

    3 G Ablett
    2 M Duncan
    1 J Selwood

    A Black may hold his spot. Serviceable.

    L McCarthy isn’t a great kick for goal but an undoubted asset. Way better bet than Gregson et al.

    Some other green shoots. Jones, Parfitt and Kelly.

    Menegola is a good footballer.

    Blicavs developing as a reliable and smart back man.

    Hawkins good early.

    Stanley and Buzza! Blimey!

  2. Stainless says

    I saw Geelong v Hawthorn at the start of the year and the Cats were bereft of defenders. Now they’re statistically the strongest defence in the comp. Mysterious indeed. Your next two games will tell a tale. North have been rock solid and will fancy themselves at the Cattery. And as for Tiges at the G – will the memories of last September spook the Cats or inspire them?

  3. P Flynn

    Class is a fascinating thing in footy – or in anything really. G. Ablett shows it when he starts with a little space – but he does need just a smidge of it. He’s not liking heavy traffic. So I reckon this game suited him. He used the ball well. He’ll cop more v NM and Rich. But the signs from Up North were good for him.

    Prefer Duncan remains a secret.

    L. McCarthy is a great in. He has some grunt, as well as skill.

    Where have you got Geelong at the end of Round 23 – just asking because Peter Baulderstone wants to know.

  4. Stainless

    From the TV, the Tiges look so much further down the track than the Cats. In so many ways. Everyone is talking about the pressure, and the spread and go is impressive. Nankervis is solid in a year when ruckmen matter. Edwards is being noticed (by me) – after all these years. Mrtin is much more than a bull. He is a tremendous creator. He brings others into the game by beating the congestion and choosing options judiciously.

    Chris Scott has won a few coaches’ battles this season (v Port esp) but he’ll need to be O’Rourke to Hardwick’s Agarn if the Cats are to win in a couple of weeks.

  5. Mark Ferguson says

    Lincoln McCarthy seems to make a big difference. I like the speed from him and Gregson and Jones and Parfitt. And, generally, the offense has been pretty efficient.

    I think the training drill against the Suns could be a really good thing for the midfield’s cohesion, which has been sadly lacking to this point; I am optimistic about the quality coming through from now onwards. Cunico has been a nicely solid addition, too.

    The defense, with Taylor and Henderson sidelined, has been really really good. Blicavs, a man who seems to be able to do everything anywhere on the oval competently, seems to have a special talent as a key defender. Yes, Stewart. Yes, Kolodjashnij. Yes, Henry: The Cats have allowed the fewest points on the ladder despite having played 7 of the top-ten-scoring teams (or 8 of 11, since the Cats are one of the top 10 themselves). Aaron Black was even very solid the last two weeks; is it pornstache mojo?

    The ruck spot has been the one thing that makes me cry: Ratugolea seemed to make the most happen when he was rucking, but that’s gone as an option for this year.

    Next week will be a big test.

  6. Trying to figure out this season is like trying to figure out Ulyssess (anyone who says they have read that from cover to cover has a big nose).

    Cats don’t have a ruckman. The big Sav is a modern football tragedy. Such a bright future possibly ruined. If we could combine Stanley and Smith into one person, that might be the answer. How far off is that technology?

    McCarthy is a beauty and will get better. Unless he gets managed for the next 18 months!

    Our best 22 seems to change from quarter to quarter. I’m a bit concerned that our coach, after 7 seasons, is still not fixed on his best combination. Why,If we pay him $1m per season? I’ll do it for $500K.

    I’ll get back to you after lunch before I name my current, best 22. We might hear about 3 more foot injuries between now and then.

    But the young blokes are going well. Cunico starting t impact games. The worries are Selwood, Ablett and Dangerfield. Never thought I would say that.

  7. I’ll do it for $495K Dips. (Your call)

    I want the big Buzz-man in there for karma. As an ancient nun once said to me at a literary festival, Billy Brownless was named to be a footballer.

    So was Wile E. Buzza. An acme footballer who can use an anvil too.

  8. Bob Morrow says

    What about Esava Ratugollea /
    What a star, possibly superstar of the future. Hisa broken ankle is a huge set back I would say, for him & the club, that I hope he soon gets over.

  9. $490K

    And I’ll throw in an assistant coach.

    Gideon Haigh was named to be a writer.

  10. Matt Quartermaine says

    Good to see the Almanac getting back to its roots: Endlessly talking about Geelong.

  11. Flynny: I did not even realise A Black was still on the Cats’ list. Good luck to him, I thought he was going to be a real player at North. Interesting that he has now played 56 games in 6.5 seasons.

    Dips: the fluid nature of Geelong’s line-up (injuries not withstanding) is unusual.

    JTH: I reckon Cam Guthrie’s days at the Cats are numbered. I get the feeling another club has made a big offer.

    Matty Q: well played!

  12. Dips, That would be Gideon Clifford Jeremy Davidson Haigh. I’d say a Brideshead character. And I’ll the job to you at that price.

    MQ, about time.

  13. Geelong? Ninth. Good for football.

  14. Assuming all injury free (except long terms like Sav and Henderson). Is this the best Geelong side for 2018?

    Bews Blicavs Kolodjasnij
    Stewart Harry Tuohy
    J Selwood Danger Duncan
    McCarthy Buzza Menegola
    Menzel Hawkins Parfitt

    Rucks: Stanley Kelly S. Selwood

    Interchange: Ablett, Henry, C. Guthrie, Fogarty

    Can’t get Parsons or Cocky in. Smith? Joel Selwood is getting thrashed in the guts. I think getting him out of the centre might be a good move. Jones probably doesn’t make it either. Nor Murdoch. Would like to get Constable in but he’s still an unknown quantity. Cunico very stiff. Gregson very stiff.

    Henry can go to fullback if (when) Stanley starts getting towelled up. Blicavs into the ruck.


  15. Dennis Gedling says

    We’re very hard to pick at the moment. I just worry our structure and set up just isn’t going to be good enough hoping superstars get us over the line when it matters. Next two games before the bye will say a lot.

    Great to see little Lincoln back. Someone in the Max Rooke mould if ever there was one.

  16. MGLFerguson says

    Dips, I think that’s a pretty good go at their best side.

    I could argue for swapping out Cockatoo for Fogarty, or Gregson for the same spot, or maybe even Cockatoo for Guthrie for leg speed…but none of those swaps would be argued with any passion; I would not feel the least bit bad about any of those four in the team. I personally favor Smith over Stanley for his past consistency, but Stanley’s high end seems to be higher than Smith’s; too bad the man also just vanishes so often. And, from all I hear Smith’s game has been in a blue funk lately, even in the VFL.

    Buzza did not show me much on Saturday, but I liked what he did last year a lot. On this years’ small sample size, I would probably propose Crameri swapped out for Buzza, but not with any strong feelings.

    I’m amused Ablett starts on your bench, but not disputing it either.

  17. Roger Lowrey says

    Agree with most of what has already been noted so won’t repeat if I can avoid it other than to add emphasis. But fair dinkum, if we were a thermostat we would have blown up several times already this year.

    Other comments not covered elsewhere – in a similar vein to Mark’s gospel now I think of it – I’d probably go with 9 rather than 1 (Oh yeah folks, this is sort of like a Secret Seven code for believers – thank you Enid). Better tap ruckman and who cares how mobile he is IF you get the ball first although I agree this is a big problem and form will play a big part.

    Defence has already been rightly lauded so leave them as they are but here’s a thought. Will 7 get more game time and is he past his best? My answers are, respectively, probably and definitely.

    The usual suspect three stars will continue to be stars so no special comments there. Just outside those three, special mentions are due to 11 ( a dead set gun), 22, 27 and 16. All key grunt players who get their own ball although the last of them is injury prone.

    Down forward, 26 self selects but then it is a bit of a juggle. 12 is default in place of 17 although that is very highly negotiable even bringing 1 back into contention. In no particular order, there are then only three spots for 3, 6, 28 and 36. My unlucky one would be 28. At this stage I am not counting on 10 being available although if/when he ever is, he is an inclusion but I sense inevitability. On the other hand 5 will be available and, if so, is then a shoo in.

    So what to make of the rest?

    This first group are “borderline but work in progress” – 13, 18, 20, 31, 41 and 45 although they could do plenty worse than give the last of these a run this year – see here, ruck commentary above.

    This second group are “borderline but not really going anywhere” – 21, 33, 34, 39 and 40.

    17 and 25 are long term injuries but will play again.

    All of which leaves 29 and who knows? Maybe JTH is correct.

    Consequently my changes to Dipsy’s team are 9, 5 and 36 come in for 1, 13 and 10 although, of course, I have often been wrong before.


  18. Citrus Bob says

    RDL -hope Mat Quartermaine has “The Record” in front of him. I’m sure he loves those numbers.

    Put Crameri at full forward and make angry 26 work harder up the field and allow the likes of McCarthy, Kelly, Danger et al to work of him. Crameri needs at least 4 games to get into Geelong’s methodology aka Plan A. Coach has no plan B.
    Plan A is constructed around 4 and that is it. Dips you have 4 on the bench is that a recommendation of how he is going overall. His first 6 kicks last week went no where?

  19. Rulebook says

    The cats lacking a gun ruckman is hurting them ( Jacobs fall from grace is a huge part of the Crows problems ) wish GHS would get a decent run or selfishly return to cricket ( best junior cricketer I have seen )

  20. Citrus – I didn’t start Gazza on the bench due to form, I just think he should be rotated around the forward line with some time in the guts. Unfortunately the Selwood, Dangerfield, Ablett midfield isn’t working.

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